26 June 2019



  • Ruling party’s defeat in re-run of Istanbul mayoral vote will increase pressure on President to reform party and limit risk of damaging split
  • President will look to reshuffle Cabinet in wake of defeat but no major economic policy shifts are likely for now
  • Ankara will continue efforts to reach compromise with Washington over purchase of Russian missile system to avoid sanctions


Ekrem Imamoglu of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) secured 54% of the vote in the re-run of the Istanbul mayoral election on 23 June, defeating the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) Binali Yildirim. Yildirim conceded defeat on election day, while President Erdogan also swiftly offered his congratulations to Imamoglu.

Imamoglu narrowly won the 31 March poll by around 13,000 votes. However, the High Election Council subsequently annulled the vote on 6 May and called for a re-run after pressure from the AKP, which denounced the results as fraudulent. Ahead of the re-run Erdogan and the AKP’s strategy focused on increased efforts to appeal to Istanbul’s Kurds – many of whom did not vote in the original election – who make 15% of the city’s population. However, this strategy was unsuccessful as the ruling party faced…

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