AK Party sets eyes on SP voter base for Istanbul polls
The Justice and Development Party (AK Party) has focused on voters of the Felicity Party (SP) and those who did not cast their votes in the March 31 elections, with the aim of closing the approximately 13,000-vote gap between its candidate Binali Yıldırım and his opponent Ekrem İmamoğlu in the redo mayoral election for Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality on June 23.
According to the party's detailed research, it is expected that 30 percent of the SP's more than 100,000 voters will vote for Yıldırım in the redo election. It is also reported that a certain percentage of voters who did not go the latest polls have been convinced by the party to cast their ballots for the AK Party candidate.
The party has also developed strategies to ensure the presence of about 300,000 voters who went to their hometowns in the Istanbul's local polls. As part of the campaign, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is expected to give active support by coming together with representatives of nongovernmental organizations and opinion leaders.
The Supreme Election Council (YSK) decided to annul the March 31 mayoral election in Istanbul due to irregularities and unlawfulness. The YSK's decision on the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality election came down to a vote of four members against and seven in favor on May 6. The renewed election will be held on June 23. As Republican People's Party (CHP) İmamoğlu had a 13,729-vote difference on March 31, even a small margin of votes has a great significance for both sides.
Meanwhile, the president and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader met yesterday in Ankara. In the 40-minute meeting, the two leaders talked about the upcoming Istanbul elections and regional developments, the presidency said.
HDP mobilizes for CHP's İmamoğlu for June 23
Meanwhile, the pro-PKK Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) has stepped up efforts to give support to İmamoğlu in the upcoming elections. "We are mobilized [for the elections] and will be here until June 23. Our deputies, Central Executive Board (MYK) members, party caucus members and all officials have been working for Istanbul," the party's Co-chair Pervin Buldan said. She added that the HDP is clinging to the hope their arrested former co-leader Selahattin Demirtaş will be released if the CHP wins the election. "The June 23 election will pave the way for the freedom of our friends," she said.
The HDP is known for its support of autonomy in regions where large Kurdish populations live. Also, some of its members have been charged with or accused of having links to the PKK terrorist organization. Its former co-leader, Demirtaş, was arrested in November 2016 over terrorist propaganda. Many of its members have often voiced overt support to the PKK.