Ekrem İmamoğlu, the main opposition candidate in the June 23 Istanbul mayoral rerun vote, believes the injustice of the annulment of his March electoral win will spur even greater voter support this Sunday, the Associated Press reported.
In a blow to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), 49-year-old İmamoğlu from the Republican People’s Party (CHP) narrowly won the March 31 vote, which was canceled five weeks later by the country’s election council over an appeal by the AKP citing irregularities.
“I believe the people of Istanbul will give the necessary response to this injustice at the polls as a result of their belief in democracy,” İmamoğlu told AP in an interview on Monday.
“This election is to repair, to treat, the oppression of democracy, the mistake against democracy, this conspiracy. And God willing, the victors will be Istanbul and democracy.”
The head of Turkey’s top polling firm agreed with the candidate, saying on Monday that İmamoğlu is ahead in the race and could well extend his lead by Sunday.
“It is impossible for (the decision) not to have affected society’s conscience and sense of justice. Even from that moment, the AKP had lost,” Konda chief Bekir Ağırdır told Medyascope TV.
İmamoğlu acknowledged that the rerun result could again be canceled, a move his legal team was working to prevent.
“We’re very happy,” he told AP. “The political arena is really beautiful. There’s an unbelievable kindness. People are aware.”