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İstanbul mayor says election alliance is essential for opposition

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İstanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu has said it is of the utmost importance for the opposition parties to join forces again for the March 2024 local elections and that he will talk to an opposition leader who recently ruled out an alliance, the Sözcü daily reported.

İmamoğlu, from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), was elected in the local elections of 2019 thanks to an alliance between his party and the nationalist İYİ (Good) Party. He also garnered the support of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), which was not part of the opposition alliance.

The mayor, who spoke to the Sözcü daily, commented on recent remarks made by İYİ Party leader Meral Akşener, who said last week that her party would nominate its own candidates in all provinces for the local elections and would not make any alliance with its former ally, the CHP.

“I could never agree with the idea of being against election alliances. Alliances are always essential. And we should never forget that the biggest alliance is the social alliance in the parties’ grassroots,” said İmamoğlu.

Akşener said, based on her experience, she thinks election alliances inflict damage on the country, so she is planning to avoid such alliances for the local elections on March 31.

“We will nominate our own candidates everywhere including İstanbul and Ankara,” Akşener said, adding that she would discuss the issue with her party’s executive board.

The politician said her party would return to its factory settings, adding that it wasn’t established to get CHP candidates elected.

İmamoğlu said he would talk to the İYİ Party leader to better understand her election strategy in İstanbul.

In the absence of an opposition alliance in İstanbul, İmamoğlu’s chances of winning against the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) candidate are slim.

He ended the years-long AKP rule in the city when he defeated the party’s candidate in 2019.

İmamoğlu has already announced he will run for mayor of İstanbul again but has not been officially nominated by his party.

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