Erdogan picks ex-prime minister to run for Istanbul mayor

December 29, 2018
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Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan left, and Binali Yildirim, Parliament Speaker and a former prime minister, salute supporters in Istanbul, Saturday, Dec. 29, 2018. Erdogan has nominated Yildirim to run for mayor of Istanbul next year as the candidate of his ruling Justice and Development Party to lead Turkey's biggest city.(Presidential Press Service via AP, Pool)

ISTANBUL (AP) — Turkey’s president has nominated a former prime minister to run for mayor of Istanbul next year.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday that Binali Yildirim would be the ruling Justice and Development Party’s candidate to lead Turkey’s biggest city.

Erdogan served as Istanbul’s mayor for four years before founding the party in 2001.

Yildirim currently is speaker of Turkey’s parliament. He served as prime minister during 2016-2018 and before that as Erdogan’s transport minister.

A 2017 constitutional referendum abolished the office of prime minister and approved an executive system of government that expanded Erdogan’s authority.

Yildirim’s main opponent in the March 31 mayoral election will be Ekrem Imamoglu from the secular Republican People’s Party.

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