Istanbul mayor Imamoğlu would beat Erdoğan in presidential election, pollster says

Ekrem İmamoğlu, who became a figurehead for Turkey's political opposition by winning an election for Istanbul mayor last year, is more favoured than President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to become the next president, the president of pollster Avrasya said on Tuesday.

In a presidential race between the two candidates, Imamoğlu would receive 6.5 percent more votes than Erdoğan, Kemal Özkiraz said in an interview with Diken news site.

Imamoğlu became the mayor of Turkey’s largest city in a landslide victory in 2019's local elections, dealing a major blow to Erdoğan's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), which along with its Islamist predecessor parties had ruled the city for 25 years.

Meanwhile, another opposition figure, the mayor of Turkey's capital Mansur Yavaş, was neck and neck with the Turkish president in the poll, as Erdoğan lead him by only 0.2 percent points, Özkiraz said.

Since taking office as the mayor of Turkey’s capital, Yavaş has made waves with his pledge to do away with wasteful municipal spending of the AKP and his recent efforts to help low-income families during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Majority of the undecided voters belong to the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), but over 90 percent of HDP voters said they would vote for the opposition's candidate against Erdoğan, he said.

Turkey’s next presidential election is scheduled for 2023. But, Erdoğan's and the AKP's response to the coronavirus outbreak have drawn criticism, and with the economy tottering some have speculated that elections could be on the horizon before they are scheduled in 2023.