Pro-Kurdish DEM Party to field candidate in Istanbul for local elections

Turkey’s pro-Kurdish DEM Party decided to nominate a candidate for Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality in the upcoming local elections.

Duvar English

The Central Executive Committee (MYK) of the Peoples' Equality and Democracy (DEM) Party on Feb. 3 decided to field a mayoral candidate for local elections in Istanbul.

Although possible names were discussed, no clear decision was announced from the meeting chaired by the party’s co-chairs Tülay Hatimoğulları and Tuncer Bakırhan.

The candidate of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and current mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu and the candidate of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and lawmaker Murat Kurum are the front runners for Istanbul as of now.

Başak Demirtaş, wife of imprisoned Kurdish politician Selahattin Demirtaş, on Jan. 21 stated that she was open to becoming the DEM Party’s Istanbul mayoral candidate should the people and the party decide to field her

DEM’s co-chair Bakırhan has previously pointed out that the MYK meeting for the clarification of the party’s decision on local elections.

At the meeting, the MYK also decided to nominate leftist figure Veli Saçılık for Bolu province. The CHP's xenophobic current mayor Tanju Özcan was nominated by his party again for the province.

The DEM has also decided to nominate a candidate in southern Antalya province, but the name has not been finalized.

Party spokesperson Ayşegül Doğan will announce the names of the candidates for many provinces at a press conference on Feb. 4.

In the 2019 local elections, the nationalist opposition Good (İYİ) Party and pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) did not field mayoral candidates for Istanbul and Ankara metropolitan municipalities, leading to the CHP’s success in both provinces.

Both parties did not endorse CHP’s candidate in Istanbul for the upcoming elections on March 31, and İYİ also fielded its mayoral candidate for Istanbul as Buğra Kavuncu. 

Turkish government’s far-right ally New Welfare Party (YRP) declared it would field its candidate for the mayoral race in Istanbul.