Istanbul’s opposition mayor Imamoglu received two years and seven months in prison

Istanbul’s opposition mayor and likely Turkish presidential candidate Ekrem Imamoglu was sentenced to two years, seven months and 15 days in prison for insulting CEC representatives and being disqualified from political activity, A Haber TV channel reports.

Imamoglu, after winning the 2019 municipal elections, called CEC representatives “fools” who cancelled the results of the first ones, in which he also won. He had previously been called one of the possible rivals of incumbent President Tayyip Erdoğan in the presidential election, which is expected in June.

“Imamoglu was sentenced to 2 years, 7 months and 15 days in prison. On the other hand, it was decided to apply Article 53, which means a ban on political activity,” the channel reported. The politician himself urged supporters to come to court, and his defense has already announced its intention to appeal against the decision. In order for the ban on political activity to take effect, it requires approval by a higher authority on the basis of the CEC appeal.

The next general elections in the country – both presidential and parliamentary – are scheduled for June 18, 2023. The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MNP) had previously formed the People’s Alliance. Earlier, Turkish nationalist leader Devlet Bahçeli announced that President Tayyip Erdoğan would be the candidate of the “People’s Alliance” in the upcoming elections. The president himself did not comment on the nomination for a long time, but at a meeting with supporters he unexpectedly announced that he intended to fight for the post of the head of state, calling on his main rival, Kılıçdaroğlu, to announce the name of the opposition candidate. The opposition has not yet announced a candidate.

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