Binali Yıldırım, the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) mayoral candidate for Istanbul, has vowed to “fix problems” that occurred in the metropolitan mayoral election on March 31 in an iftar, or fast-breaking dinner, speech in the iconic Taksim Square.
“Elections were finalized on March 31. The districts of Istanbul are completed. But there was a defect in the metropolitan municipality [elections]. On June 23, we will fix this problem,” Yıldırım said on May 12.
“We will all work together for the bright future of Istanbul,” he said.
“I would like to thank all fellow residents of Istanbul for their support and trust. I expect this support to increasingly continue until June 23,” the mayoral candidate added.
The AKP and its ally Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) had appealed to the Supreme Election Council (YSK) seeking the annulment and renewal of the Istanbul municipal elections, arguing that there were fraud and severe irregularities that impacted the election results.
Yıldırım lost against the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) candidate Ekrem İmamoğlu, trailing by around 13,000 votes behind his rival in the local elections on March 31.
The re-election is highly likely to be a two-candidate race, with smaller parties and independent runners expected to withdraw.
Yıldırım, Turkey’s former and last prime minister and parliament speaker, received an avalanche of criticism from opposition parties, which called the election annulment a violation to the Turkish constitution.
Hurriyet Daily News