Turkish opposition Istanbul win important, but not game-changer - The Economist

The opposition's victory in the Istanbul mayoral rerun election on June 23 shows that people stood up to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's ruling party, but short-term change can only come from within the party since the next election will be held in 2023, The Economist said on Friday.

The secularist main opposition Republican People’s Party candidate, Ekrem İmamoğlu, won a decisive victory in the Istanbul mayoral rerun election on June 23. And his success transcends just a triumph in ballot boxes.

"People are already talking about the new man as a contender for the presidency, not least because Mr. Erdoğan himself once trod a similar path, using a stint as mayor of Istanbul in the 1990s as a stepping-stone to national power," The Economist said.

But İmamoğlu's future political life "is strewn with obstacles", the weekly said, since Erdoğan's Islamist ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) won 25 of the city’s 39 districts in March 31 local elections and holds a majority in the municipal assembly.

Despite a weak showing in the local elections, the AKP, together with its far-right ally, still holds the majority in the parliament and there are no elections scheduled for another four years.

"In the short term, change will have to come from within AK. There is some sign of it," The Economist said referring to reports of senior AKP members establishing a new rival party following the local elections.