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Small Turkish Islamist party to take part in re-run of Istanbul mayoral election

Small Turkish Islamist party to take part in re-run of Istanbul mayoral election

A small Turkish Islamist party said on Tuesday that it will take part in next month’s re-run of the Istanbul mayoral election. The statement comes a week after its candidate said he was ready to stand down and support the ousted opposition mayor.

The Saadet (Felicity) Party took around 100,000 votes in the March 31 election, won by the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) candidate Ekrem Imamoglu. He beat President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s AK Party by 13,000 votes. The decision to re-run the Istanbul vote on June 23 has met with claims that democracy is being eroded.

Saadet said it decided to field its former candidate Necdet Gokcinar in the re-run after weighing public and party opinion, Reuters reports.

Last year, Saadet made an alliance with Imamoglu’s CHP and the nationalist Iyi Party in presidential and parliamentary elections, and Gokcinar’s comment last week had suggested his supporters could rally around Imamoglu if he did not stand.