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Dec 26 2018

Opposition lead mayoral race in Ankara, closely trail in Istanbul

The opposition coalition’s candidate for mayor of Ankara leads ahead of the ruling Justice Development Party’s (AKP) candidate, while the Istanbul race is in a dead heat, according to a new survey from Piar Research.

Mansur Yavaş, the candidate from the Republican People’s Party (CHP) with joint backing from the center-right conservative Good (İYİ) Party, leads the AKP’s candidate, Mehmet Özhaseki, 41.9 percent to 35.2 percent in Ankara, the polls said.

In Istanbul, former Prime Minister Binali Yildirim (AKP) leads Ekrem Imamoğlu (CHP), the mayor of Istanbul’s Beylikdüzü district, 36.5 percent to 33 percent.

Turkey will vote in local elections on March 31, 2019, expected to be a referendum on the leadership of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. 

The poll was conducted from Dec. 19 to 22, with 3,120 people surveyed in Istanbul and 1,950 in Ankara, with a margin of error is 1.8 percent, Cumhuriyet reported.

Just over half surveyed in Ankara said they would not vote for Özhaseki, while only 36.7 percent said they would not cast a ballot in favouor of Yavaş. In Istanbul, 47.1 percent said they would not vote for Yildirim while only 43.4 percent said they would abstain from voting for Imamoğlu.

Yavaş came within one percentage point of winning in the 2014 Ankara mayoral race, when Melih Gökçek won reelection. Gökçek stepped down as mayor in 2017, during a series of resignations of mayors nationwide widely believed to be ordered from AKP headquarters and Erdoğan.

Gökçek did not run this year, and his interim replacement was not chosen as the AKP’s candidate.

Yavaş also has the support of Good Party, which is in an electoral alliance with the CHP. Meanwhile, the alliance between the AKP and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) continues in Istanbul and Ankara.