The majority of 19 district mayors from the opposition İYİ (Good) Party, who met with their leader Meral Akşener on Jan. 17, prefer Ankara Mayor Mansur Yavaş or Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu for the presidential candidate in the 2023 elections. Some would also support Akşener herself.
This meeting came amidst discussions of who the opposition Nation Alliance - neck and neck in polls with the ruling People’s Alliance - should put forth as their candidate. The coalition made up of the Republican People's Party (CHP), the İYİ Party, the Felicity Party (SP), and the Democratic Party (DP), has yet to present a candidate so far.
According to reporting by Habertürk, Akşener invited the district mayors to the party headquarters to ask them about the issues facing their constituencies, including minimum wage and the upcoming elections.
When asking the mayors who they thought the best candidate would be, Aksener reportedly said, “It’s not about me, it’s about Turkey.” She also reportedly encouraged mayors to “stay away from the fight” in what is bound to be a tense political atmosphere leading up to the elections.
She also indicated in the meetings that she was poised to be Prime Minister, particularly when candidates indicated that they would choose her as a candidate.
“The government is worn out. Turkey needs to normalize. We can achieve this with a presidential candidate who will [bring the country back to the] the parliamentary system without breaking it,” she reportedly said.