AKP’s Yıldırım vows employment, price cuts for Istanbulites ahead of mayoral revote

Former Prime Minister and Istanbul mayoral candidate for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Binali Yıldırım on Saturday announced a package containing a series of pledges to Istanbul residents, including employment and price cuts ahead of the city’s June 23 mayoral revote.

Yıldırım vowed the employment of 100,000 Istanbul residents each year, in addition to the financial assistance for families and price cuts to natural gas, independent news site T24 reported.

The package arrives as Turkey’s largest city prepares for a rerun of the mayoral election. Opposition candidate Ekrem İmamoğlu won the initial March 31 vote by a small margin over AKP’s Yıldırım, however, an AKP appeal prompted Turkey’s election board to annul that result and schedule a rerun for June 23. 

The failure of  Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s AKP in Istanbul is a blow to the prestige of the Turkish president ,who has been in power since 2003 and launched his political career by becoming mayoral of Istanbul in 1994. 

Some of the main promises in Yıldırım’s package include a 10 percent cut in natural gas prices; financial assistance for the electricity and natural gas bills for low income families; up to 1000 lira support for homemakers, up to one week vacation by the city’s municipality for 25,000 families with disabled children, as well as internships for university students.

The Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality Council approved proposals to lower the price of water for city residents and the monthly transportation fee for students - an idea proposed by the opposition CHP - following the March 31 elections.