Democratic Left Party (DSP) Istanbul mayoral candidate Muammer Aydın withdrew from the upcoming redo elections for Istanbul in a move to likely support Republican People's Party (CHP) candidate Ekrem İmamoğlu.
"Today, I resigned from DSP's Istanbul mayoral candidacy," Aydın wrote yesterday on his Twitter account. He previously criticized the Supreme Election Council's (YSK) decision to renew local polls in Istanbul slated for June 23.
Last week, the YSK ruled for a rerun of local elections in Istanbul over an appeal of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and canceled İmamoğlu's mayoral certificate.
Following the decision, CHP Deputy Chairmen Seyit Torun and Oğuz Kaan Salıcı paid a visit to DSP headquarters to seek support for the Istanbul elections. After the meeting, DSP Deputy Chairman Hasan Erçelebi made a statement, saying that they will evaluate within the party whether or not they'll continue with their own candidate for the elections.
On April 17, the provincial election council handed Imamoğlu his official mandate as mayor, with a certificate confirming his victory over AK Party candidate Binali Yıldırım, a former prime minister. He won with a slim margin of about 13,000 votes, according to unofficial results.
Despite addressing similar voter bases, as both are leftist parties, the CHP and the DSP have been critical of one another for quite some time, both blaming each other for letting the AK Party win elections. During the process of determining municipal candidates, a number of candidates who were turned down by the CHP announced that they would run under the DSP banner, fueling the dispute.
The CHP accused the DSP of dividing the votes by dispossessing some CHP members by nominating them as municipal candidates in the local elections.
DSP Chairman Önder Aksakal had harshly criticized the CHP, saying that the party has distanced itself from its founding principles and values.
"The CHP's contemporary structure has no similarities to the party whose roots trace back to the nationalist forces and was founded by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk," Aksakal told reporters in the southeastern province of Gaziantep where he attended the opening ceremony of the DSP's provincial headquarters.