Erdoğan would beat Republican rivals in presidential election, poll says

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan still has the edge over leading figures from the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) in the next presidential race, according to an opinion poll by Turkish research company Optimar.

A total of 44.7 percent of participants said they would vote for Erdoğan compared to 34.7 percent who said they would support Istanbul mayor Ekrem Imamoğlu, a figurehead for Turkey's opposition, in a presidential race between the two candidates, Cumhuriyet reported citing the Optimar poll.

Meanwhile, 43 percent said they would vote for Erdoğan compared to 36.1 percent who said they would vote for Ankara Mayor Mansur Yavaş.

Imamoğlu became the mayor of Turkey’s largest city in a landslide victory in 2019's local elections, dealing a major blow to Erdoğan's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), which along with its Islamist predecessor parties had ruled the city for 25 years.

Since stepping into office as the mayor of Turkey’s capital, Yavaş has made waves with his pledge to do away with wasteful municipal spending of the AKP and his recent efforts to help low-income families during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Turkey’s next presidential election is scheduled for 2023. Under the current system, multiple candidates can enter the first round of voting, which more than 50 percent of the vote is required to win. If no contenders win in the first round, the top two candidates compete head to head in a second round of voting.