Turkey, Politics

Istanbul mayoral hopefuls to vie in Sunday matchup

Millions expected to tune in when government, opposition candidates debate face-to-face for 1st time over city's future

Beyza Binnur Donmez   | 16.06.2019
Istanbul mayoral hopefuls to vie in Sunday matchup


The future of Istanbul, the Turkish megalopolis of 16 million people, will be debated by two mayoral candidates Sunday night a week ahead of a revote mandated by election authorities.

A lively debate is expected between People's Alliance candidate Binali Yildirim and Nation Alliance candidate Ekrem Imamoglu at Lutfi Kirdar Congress Center in Istanbul, at 9 p.m. local time (1800GMT).

The debate will be carried live on most TV channels, and millions across the country are expected to tune in.

The ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) joined forces for the elections under the People’s Alliance banner.

Their opponents are the Nation Alliance, a bloc including the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) and Good (IYI) Party.

The debate will be moderated by veteran journalist and TV presenter Ismail Kucukkaya.

Speaking ahead of the debate, Yildirim said that other topics besides Istanbul will be discussed on Sunday, but "the important" thing is what Istanbulites want.

Imamoglu, for his part, expressed his hope for a "pleasant" discussion.

Yildirim and Imamoglu will vie for the Istanbul mayor’s seat again after the Supreme Election Council (YSK) ordered a re-run of the March 31 Istanbul polls.

The results of the vote were canceled after the ruling AK Party and Nationalist Movement Party appealed to the council, citing irregularities and violations of election law.

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