July 23, 2019
Latest News

Istanbul votes for its mayor for second time this year

By Ilya U. Topper

Istanbul, Jun 23 (efe-epa).- Thousands of Istanbul residents flocked to polling booths on Sunday after the city was called to vote on its mayor for the second time this year.

Elections on Mar. 31 were canceled over alleged irregularities, after a tight victory for the opposition.

But that does not seem to have dented people’s passion for democracy, with young, old, families, people on crutches and some in wheelchairs or dragging an oxygen bottle, turning out to vote.

In one district it is clear that most of the ballots will be for Ekrem Imamoglu, the young star of the Republican People's Party (CHP), who in March won by just 14,000 votes over his rival, Binali Yildirim, from the conservative Justice and Development Party (AKP) and right-wing government party of the president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

"I voted for Imamoglu, to face fascism," one middle-aged voter, named only as Ismail, said.

He added that he has voted for CHP for three years, having previously favored "other parties."

Another voter, named only as Ebru, said that he has sealed his ballot in favor of the opposition candidate "because in March his rights were trampled," by annulling the victory and ordering the replay of the elections.

Another nearby polling station, which brought together residents and neighborhoods with greater political diversity, was calm and quiet, without queues at the door.

"It's because of the heat, people will come when the sun goes down a bit," one unnamed observer said.

The polls will close at 5pm local time (14:00 GMT).

Here there are families that appear to be AKP supporters.

But nobody wants to declare their political preference: "The vote is secret," is the most frequent response.

Surveys forecast that participation, traditionally high in Turkey, could exceed the 83.8 percent registered in March.

The opposition especially has tried to mobilize its voters by asking them not to go on vacation this week.

But judging by a busy bus station in Istanbul on Saturday, many holidaymakers ignored the advice and returned to the city to fulfill their democratic duty. EFE-EPA

iut-lvm/rb

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