The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) mayoral candidate for Istanbul, Binali Yildirim, who is also a former prime minister, has said that he is not interested in pursuing the seat after losing at the polls, Diken news portal reported.
Yildirim spoke on Sunday at the alumni day of Kasimpasa Anatolian High School where he graduated, saying, “I’m not the type of person to try to win an election that has been lost. I’ve seen higher seats than this and have taken on greater responsibilities.”
The AKP candidate pointed to the party as the main actor in the defeat of the Istanbul race, and not the candidates.
“This election has its own sociology, conditions. That’s why it has to be evaluated in those terms. We all know that it was not the candidates who raced in this election, but parties. Therefore, it’s not correct to say one of the candidates lost the election and the other one won,” he stated.
Yildirim’s comments on losing the election came after Ahmet Davutoglu, another former prime minister from the AKP slammed President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the ruling party after its surprise defeat in major cities, especially Istanbul.
Davutoglu, who had to quit his post in May 2016 due to the pressure he faced from Erdogan, pointed to an administration crisis behind Turkey’s current economic crisis.
The former PM’s harsh criticism of AKP gave rise to claims among political circles that a new party might be established by Davutoglu and other intra-party dissidents as an alternative against the government.
Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has claimed that Yildirim is not pleased with the role he played for AKP in the local elections and might consider splitting from the party.
Yildirim also commented on AKP’s extraordinary appeal to Turkey’s top election council to annul and repeat elections in Istanbul.
“The legal process continues at the Supreme Electoral Council (YSK). What remains now is to wait for the result of the appeal and then everybody will get on with his job,” he added.
According to the initial results of the March 31 local elections, CHP’s candidate, Ekrem Imamoglu was 28,000 votes ahead of AKP’s Yildirim in the Istanbul race.
After AKP submitted a number of appeals to the YSK, the election council ruled for full and partial vote recounts in districts across the city.
Although the vote margin between the candidates dropped to 13,900 after almost 10 percent of the votes were recounted due to appeals, the result of the Istanbul election has not changed.
CHP’s Imamoglu received his official mandate to be Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality Mayor 17 days after the local elections, with a serious blow to President Erdogan, who started his political career in the same post.