*Photo: Necdet Gökçınar / Twitter
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The Felicity Party (SP) has decided to participate in the repeat election for the İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality after the Supreme Election Council (YSK) annulled the March 31 elections on the ground of “irregularities regarding the ballot councils”.
The party’s candidate for İstanbul, Necdet Gökçınar, announced the decision on Twitter, saying that they reached the opinion of participating running in the elections with the same candidate after the “unjust verdict” by the YSK.
While he refuted that he will withdraw from the polls in favor of a specific candidate, he said that Temel Karamollaoğlu, the chairperson of the party, will make the final announcement on the issue.
SP Chair Temel Karamollaoğlu also tweeted on the YSK verdict, accusing the council of “murdering the law.”
Why is the SP important for İstanbul elections?
Gökçınar received 103,364 votes in the March 31 elections, while the gap between the opposition’s winning candidate Ekrem İmamoğlu and the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) Binali Yıldırım was less than 14 thousand.
Both SP and AKP are the offshoots of the Prosperity Party (RP), which was shut down in 1998 by the Constitutional Court due to “activities against the principle of secularism.”
Although sharing history with the AKP, the SP was increasingly more critical of the government in the last years and allied with the secularist main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) for the 2018 presidential and parliamentary elections.
The party also voted “no” in the 2017 referendum for a presidential system.
Yet the party’s participation is thought to harm the AKP as its base would not be willing to vote for the CHP candidate had the party withdrawn from the elections in favor of the opposition. (HA/VK)