Less than two months before the municipal elections on March 31 in Turkey, the pro-Kurdish party DEM revealed this Friday, February 9, the names of its two co-candidates for mayor of Istanbul. Far from the unity strategy which allowed the opposition to conquer the largest Turkish city in 2019, the outgoing mayor, Ekrem Imamoğlu, must this time go it alone. In particular, he will have to convince voters of the DEM party, formerly HDP, which represents around 10% of the votes in Istanbul.
With our correspondent in Istanbul, Anne Andlauer
The pro-Kurdish left party has nominated Meral Danış Beştaş and Murat Çepni as candidates for mayor of Istanbul. A woman and a man, as he always does. The first, a deputy, is a fairly well-known figure in the Kurdish political movement. His running mate is much less so.
Neither, however, can boast of their own popularity or electoral base. Within the DEM party, there are few who can do so… This is relatively good news for the current mayor of Istanbul, Ekrem Imamoglu, who is seeking a second term. His task would have seemed significantly more difficult in the event of the candidacy of Basak Demirtas, the wife of Selahattin Demirtaş, former co-leader of the pro-Kurdish party imprisoned for seven years. Basak Demirtas had finally given up.
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To be re-elected, Ekrem Imamoğlu will need a portion of the pro-Kurdish party’s voters to vote for him, and not for their own candidate. He will need this support all the more since the opposition alliance which carried him to victory in the 2019 municipal elections broke up after the failure of last year’s legislative and presidential elections. On March 31, Ekrem Imamoglu will face at least five other candidates, including the one in power, former minister Murat Kurum.
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