Mansur Yavaş, the joint candidate of the opposition Nation Alliance running for mayor of Turkey’s capital Ankara, has said he is eight points ahead of his main rival Mehmet Özhaseki of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), while expressing concerns that he might be subjected to a smear campaign as election day nears.
“Latest public opinion surveys show that I am eight to 11 points ahead. We will definitely win Ankara,” Yavaş told the Hürriyet Daily News on a visit to Demirören Media Center on March 11.
Yavaş, a politician with a background in nationalist politics, is running for Ankara as the joint candidate of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and İYİ (Good) Party five years after he ran for the same post on the CHP’s ticket.
The difference he said he observed between the 2014 and 2019 election campaigns is that worsening economic conditions were dominating this year’s polls, Yavaş said. “I have met scores of people who said they will vote for me this time although they had voted for the AKP five years ago. I sense that the main motive behind this change in electoral behavior is the economy.”
He has many projects to make Ankara a livable city, outlining them in detail in a booklet, Yavaş stated. “But I must say that Ankara’s main problem is poverty, unemployment and economic difficulties. It would be inappropriate to unveil mega or crazy projects under these circumstances. We are, therefore, explaining how we will fight poverty, how we will use municipal resources for job creation and for social aids,” he said.
Yavaş vented his frustration at the rhetoric used by AKP officials and his rival against him, with one claim including an accusation that he would “employ 20,000 PKK members to the Ankara Greater Municipality if elected on March 31.”
“Accusing a nationalist in such a way is shameful. It’s a shame,” he said. “They are getting nastier.”
Yavaş, who claims that he lost the 2014 local elections against AKP’s former mayor Melih Gökçek as a result of vote rigging by ruling party officials, has said the CHP is taking new measures for poll safety.
Digital software specifically developed for local elections by the CHP will allow a direct and online transmission of results from each constituency to the headquarters, Yavaş said. “And both the CHP and İYİ Party have already completed works and appointed polling clerks. In addition to this, a strong team of 2,000 volunteers will be dispatched to all polling stations. We won’t allow any fraud to take place,” he stated.
Hurriyet Daily News