Many members of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) have revealed their intentions to run for Istanbul mayor, kicking off widespread intraparty competition ahead of the local elections scheduled for March 2019.
Five prominent members of the CHP are reportedly appraising their chances for nomination behind the scenes as the party hopes to break ruling Justice and Development Party's (AK Party) decade-plus rule in Turkey's commercial and cultural capital. Gürsel Tekin, a veteran party member and CHP's former Istanbul provincial head, is one of the leading candidates who has announced his intention to run in the upcoming elections. Last week during an interview Tekin explained the party's projects for Istanbul regarding infrastructure, transportation, green areas and urban transportation in detail.
The party's General Secretary Akif Hamzaçebi is another candidate determined to contend. "I am a candidate and working on this. If I am nominated [by the party], I will win," he asserted in a TV interview earlier this month.
Recent reports suggested that he has intensified fieldwork to measure voters' tendencies. The names of the party's Istanbul deputy, Mahmut Tanal, and CHP Deputy Group Chairman Engin Altay have also been circulated within the CHP.
Recent reports in Turkish media also asserted that CHP Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu is considering a candidate who would be able to get the support of the pro-PKK Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP). In the June 24 parliamentary elections, the HDP got 11.7 percent of the vote, coming in third after the AK Party and the CHP. The CHP's presidential candidate for the June 24 elections, Muharrem İnce, has also been circulating in the media for some time as a possible candidate.
İnce announced that he intends to participate in the next presidential race as chairman of the CHP; however, he said he had not completely ruled out candidacy for Istanbul and would run for Istanbul's mayor's office if the party elected him in a primary election.
AK Party leads in recent
local election surveyA recent poll has revealed that the AK Party would get 32.4 percent of the vote in the March 2019 local elections, before the undecided votes were distributed among all parties.
A survey conducted by the Objective Research Center (ORC) between Oct. 7 and 13 polled 5,186 citizens, resulting in the CHP garnering 23.9 percent of the participants' vote, while the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) showed a major leap and received 15.7 percent.
Some 5.1 percent of participants declared their intention to vote for the HDP, while 2.4 percent of the surveyed voiced support for the Good Party (İP).
Twenty percent either gave no answer or were undecided, stating that the candidates will determine their decisions.