Tendency survey guides AKP's candidate choice in Istanbul

In a move aimed at reclaiming control over Istanbul's municipal governance, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is relying on a tendency survey among party officials to shape its choice of candidate for next March's local elections.

President and AKP leader Recep Tayyip Erdoğan convened a meeting with the party's Istanbul branch on Dec. 17, bringing together district heads, youth representatives and women's branch members in a bid to gather insights for selecting the most suitable candidate for Istanbul's municipality.

During the closed-door session, attendees were invited to express their opinions on the matter by submitting sealed envelopes containing their recommendations. After collecting the anonymous submissions, Erdoğan opened the floor to more than 30 participants, as revealed by party spokesperson Ömer Çelik.

"These will be recorded and will serve as a guide for our election work," Çelik told a group of reporters after the meeting. He further reassured that the decision-making process would be finalized by the end of this month, dismissing any concerns of potential delays.

Istanbul, a stronghold of the AKP and its predecessors for decades since 1984 when Erdoğan was first elected as mayor, witnessed a historic shift in 2019 when the united opposition led by Republican People's Party's (CHP) Ekrem İmamoğlu secured victory.

İmamoğlu, also backed by the İYİ (Good) Party, initially faced challenges when the election watchdog YSK annulled the initial results, citing irregularities and illegalities. In the subsequent rerun, İmamoğlu emerged triumphant with 54.21 percent of the votes, prompting AKP candidate Binali Yıldırım to concede defeat.

With the mayor already announced as the CHP's candidate once again...

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