The Justice and Development Party (AK Party) will announce its candidate for the Istanbul mayor's office before New Year's Eve.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told reporters Tuesday that the announcement was "very close" and would probably be made "over the weekend, on Dec. 29."
On the likelihood of Parliamentary Speaker Binali Yıldırım's candidacy, Erdoğan said to become a candidate he does not have to resign from his current position. "There is no need for resignation. As you know, deputies continue in their posts when they become candidates. They resign when and if they are elected as mayors," Erdoğan said, adding that the same process was valid for the parliamentary speaker.
Yıldırım, who was Turkey's last prime minister, comes to the fore as a possible candidate for the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality in the March 2019 local elections.
Erdoğan had said earlier that the party will prioritize voter expectations before finalizing the candidate. "When it comes to Istanbul, we will be more patient. We will make our final decision after we come to terms with the voter base." Last month, Erdoğan announced 20 of the party's mayor candidates, including for major cities like Ankara and Izmir.