Turkish main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Özgür Özel on Jan. 3 said that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) could not find any mayoral candidate in Istanbul and Ankara to win against CHP’s Ekrem İmamoğlu and Mansur Yavaş.
Speaking to journalist Murat Yetkin, Özel said polling companies were struggling to find a “winning” candidate for the AKP in Istanbul and Ankara for the local elections to be held on March 31, 2024.
Özel noted that Erdoğan had previously said they were going to announce the candidates in mid-December.
“There is no one left against Ekrem İmamoğlu in Istanbul and Mansur Yavaş in Ankara that they have not (conducted a survey). We hear that they measured the chances of success of 20 names against İmamoğlu and 12 against Yavaş. But they still can't find candidates who can challenge our candidates,” Özel said.
Özel also talked about the right-wing İYİ (Good) Party’s refusal to collaborate in the local elections. “I believe that the voters will provide the unity that we could not achieve (as parties). We do not see the İYİ Party voters as very different from ourselves. I believe that İYİ Party supporters will not want a municipality held by the CHP to be handed over to the AKP or MHP.”
In the 2019 local elections, the İYİ Party and pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) did not field mayoral candidates for Istanbul and Ankara metropolitan municipalities, making the race between the AKP and the CHP, which ended in a CHP victory.