Ekrem İmamoğlu… Started as district-level politician and stumbled his way into İstanbul’s heart in 2019.

Against all odds he challenged Erdoğan’s 25-year grip on the city and won.

With confidence, and a down-to-earth charm promising a change from ruling party’s policies.

He even has doppelgangers all around.

One of İmamoğlu's doppelganger (right)

In his 5-year term İmamoğlu introduced projects like free transportation for new mothers, cafeterias with affordable meals, more public green spaces, regional employment offices and building new metro lines.

But for many supporters what mattered was the interruption of the AKP’s reign on the city and cutting its network of political and economic ties in Turkey's largest city.

Inevitably, he was also at the center of much criticism for not engaging enough with the work not delivering all his promises on time and allotting a vast budget for self-promotion and advertising.

He faced potential political bans as a result of lawsuits from the Interior Ministry, which investigated him on corruption and insult charges

The opposition alliance that got him elected also dissolved, making this year’s race an uphill battle.

On March 31, the AKP will aim to retake the city from İmamoğlu with Murat Kurum, the former Minister of Environment and Urbanization a technocrat experienced in construction and social housing projects.

For İstanbul’s voters earthquake risks and the cost of living crisis appear to be top priorities as the two main rivals focus their campaign on these topics.

Polls show a tight margin between the front-runners and the race remains too close to call.

Can Ekrem İmamoğlu beat the AKP again?

We'll find out soon!

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