Turkey: Istanbul mayoral candidates face off in TV debate

First since 2002, accusations on new vote

17 June, 12:57

    (ANSAmed) - ISTANBUL, JUNE 17 - A televised debate between the two candidates for mayor of Istanbul Ekrem Imamoglu of the opposition Chp and Binali Yildirim of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Akp party was broadcast live by Turkish televisions and lasted three hours on Sunday night. The local elections will be held again on Sunday after the first on May 31 was annulled by the supreme electoral board (Ysk) which annulled Imamoglu's victory over alleged irregularities.

    Themes at the center of the debate included the controversial cancellation of the opposition's success by 13,729 votes, the first in 25 years. Imamoglu said he was ''elected mayor'' in the city on the Bosphorus while Yildirim spoke about ''theft'', claiming that a total recount would have granted him victory.

    The debate then focused on administrative management.

    Imamoglu claimed that in 18 days as mayor, before his mandate was revoked, he allegedly discovered that at least 753 million Turkish liras (some 115 million euros) were wasted over the course of five years - an estimate challenged by his rival.

    Also on the agenda of the debate were poverty and unemployment, the promised new green areas and the management of over 500,000 Syrian refugees registered in the city. Followed by millions of viewers, the debate was the first since 2002, when Erdogan challenged the then-leader of Chp Deniz Baykal.


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