Turkey orders re-polling for Istanbul mayoral elections

Ankara [Turkey]: Turkey’s top electoral authority on Monday ordered a re-vote for Istanbul mayor on June 23, dealing a blow for opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), who won the city in the March 31 local elections.
The members of the Supreme Election Council (YSK) accepted President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party’s objection of local election results in Istanbul in a 7-4 decision, Anadolu News Agency reported.

The Turkish electoral board also cancelled the mayoral certificate of Ekrem Imamoglu of CHP, who took office last month.

The YSK said that the decision was made as some presiding officers and polling staffs, who are supposed to be civil servants as per Turkish law, had served during the polls.

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“With this decision, our demand for re-election has been vindicated,” said Recep Ozel of AK Party.
On April 7, the AK Party had demanded YSK to recount the votes cast in all districts of Istanbul, alleging of electoral fraud and organised irregularities.

The CHP had won control of Istanbul and Ankara in the local elections, which are both considered strongholds of Erdogan’s party.

However, in Istanbul, the victory margin was razor thin. While Imamoglu won with 48.79 per cent of the votes, Binali Yildirim of AK Party finished second with 48.51 per cent of the votes.

In response, the CHP slammed the move by YSK as “plain dictatorship.”

“It is illegal to win against AK Party in elections. This system that overrules the will of the people and ignores the law is neither democratic nor legitimate. This is plain dictatorship!” CHP’s Deputy Chairman Onursal Adiguzel wrote on his Twitter handle.

Millions of Turkish voters had cast their votes nationwide in the local elections to choose Turkey’s mayors, city council members, mukhtars (neighbourhood officials), and members of elder councils for the next five years.
For the last 15 years, Istanbul’s mayorship has been in the hands of the AK Party. Erdogan also served as the city’s mayor between 1994 and 1998.

Erdogan was the face of the election campaign of his party and the local elections were considered to be the first nationwide referendum on his leadership since the 65-year-old leader won the presidential polls in June last year.


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