Istanbul vote and beyond…
Irrespective from which perspective one might look at it no one can say the decision of the Supreme Electoral Board to repeat only the metropolitan mayoral election in Istanbul is a non-political decision.
Particularly if the supreme board decided not to order a repeat vote even for those three local mayoral districts where “unqualified ballot personnel” was cited as pretext for the Istanbul repeat vote is a pure matter or law, and not a political decision.
In any case, expecting an electoral board to produce a non-political decision was awkward under current conditions in this country.
A woman shared on social media: “We have an awkward situation. A woman has delivered triplets. The husband accepted he was the father of two, but said the third one must be fathered by someone else.” Could it be a better explanation to the flashing refusal of the electoral board of the appeal by the İyi Party that if the Istanbul mayoral election was ordered to be repeated because the March 31 vote was conducted by “non-civil servant, inappropriate election booth people,” there were at least three other ballot papers voted by the very same people at the very same ballot booths: The local mayors as well as local assemblies and the city assembly members. If one is not valid, how could other results of the very same ballot boxes be valid?
Whoever says what the decision of the electoral board, that came hours after the president publicly asked it to clear itself from suspicions the supreme court must order repeat of the Istanbul mayoral vote “as asked by my people” cannot be qualified as non-political and purely legal. Of course, under law it is binding. Of course, under law appeal against it is not possible. But can anyone with a clear conscience say this decision, opposed by the presiding judge and three other members of the 11-member board, as well, could be a non-political one?
A senior journalist, on the other hand, wrote a column against those who expressed their opinion against the contaminated decision of the electoral board. He said he might understand an alliance of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), the İyi Party and even the pro-Kurdish People’s Democracy Party (HDP) but just could not comprehend how the Saadet (Felicity) Party that came from the very same roots of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has decided to support İmamoğlu in the re-run. He further said he was facing problems in understanding how one of AKP’s three founders, former President Abdullah Gül, could publicly decry the decision of the electoral board. He suggested that probably within a short period former premier Ahmet Davutoğlu and some other people said to be in efforts to part ways with the AKP and establish a new center-right or conservative party might decide to support İmamoğlu.
However, it is no secret that in a country with over 60 percent conservative voters the only challenge to AKP’s politics can come from within AKP or from the conservative flank of the political spectrum.