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Most Kurdish voters in İstanbul support candidacy of İmamoğlu in local elections

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Majority of the Kurdish voters in İstanbul will support the candidacy of the city’s incumbent mayor, Ekrem İmamoğlu, in local elections scheduled for March, a survey from the Diyarbakır-based Rawest Research Center shows.

According to the survey 54 percent of respondents said they think İmamoğlu should run again for İstanbul mayor in the local elections, while 33 percent said they think he should not stand for re-election.

The survey was conducted Oct.10-18 across 39 districts of the city with the participation of 1,000 respondents.

İmamoğlu, from the main opposition Republican People’s Party, was elected the city’s mayor in the local elections of 2019, ending years-long Justice and Development Party (AKP) rule in the city.

He was elected thanks to the support of Kurdish voters since the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) did not nominate any mayoral candidate but supported İmamoğlu’s candidacy.

However, the HDP, which is now represented in parliament under the name of the Equality and Democracy Party (HEDEP), announced in July its intention to field mayoral candidates in major cities in elections scheduled for March 31, in a departure from their strategy in the 2019 local elections, where their tacit support for the CHP resulted in victories for opposition candidates not only in İstanbul but also in Ankara.

The HDP also did not nominate a presidential candidate in the 2023 presidential election but instead supported CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu.

The party has faced criticism from some of its constituents for aligning with the CHP in recent elections without receiving any tangible benefits in return, which has further provoked a government crackdown on Kurds.

The party’s decision to field mayoral candidates in metropolitan municipalities could potentially lead to the CHP’s defeat in these races as the opposition vote may be split against the candidate of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

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