Istanbul mayoral candidates agree in principle to hold live TV debate - Yıldırım

Istanbul mayoral candidates agree in principle to hold live TV debate - Yıldırım
Date: 8.6.2019 14:00

The two major candidates in the rerun election to become mayor of Turkey’s biggest city and financial hub have agreed in principle to hold a live television debate, Binali Yıldırım, a former prime minister and candidate for the ruling party told state broadcaster TRT.

email Print zoom+ zoom-
Yıldırım faces the secular main opposition’s Ekrem İmamoğlu in the June 23 rerun of the vote to choose a new mayor of Istanbul. İmamoğlu was declared winner of the March 31 polls by a narrow margin, but the electoral authority ordered the vote to be held again after the ruling AKP alleged ballot irregularities.
Losing control of the Istanbul municipality would be a big blow to the Islamists who have controlled the city, which produces nearly a third of Turkey’s GDP, since President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan became its mayor in 1994.
“We in principle approved the joint programme, our friends from both parties are discussing the details. We will certainly have a joint television programme with Ekrem İmamoğlu,” Yıldırım said. 
The two candidates have taken their campaign nationally in an attempt to woo the many Istanbul voters who have returned to their hometowns during the post-Ramadan holidays.
Yıldırım visited the southeastern province of Diyarbakır on Thursday, a stronghold of the Kurdish political movement, to seek support of conservative Kurdish voters who normally back the AKP.
İmamoğlu has meanwhile toured his home region of the Black Sea coast, holding a string of mass rallies in an attempt to garner the votes of the many thousands who have migrated to Istanbul from the area.
Television debates between political leaders were a tradition in Turkey until the AKP came to power in 2002. But Erdoğan has refused to participate in television programmes with his opponents for 17 years. Last year he declined repeated calls from the opposition for a live debate ahead parliamentary and presidential elections in June.
Yıldırım also said his party had not wanted the Supreme Election Council to annul the March 31 Istanbul vote, but instead had demanded a full recount of the votes. Yıldırım said the AKP would have won the mayoral race by a high margin if all votes had been recounted.


Milli Gazete Puplication Group All Rights Reserved © 2000-2016 - Can not be published without permission ! Tel : +90 212 697 1000  /  Fax : +90 212 697 1000 Software Development and System Support: Milli Gazete