Election body orders election in re-run in Istanbul
More than 10.5 million voters will head to ballot boxes again to elect a mayor for Istanbul on June 23 after Turkey’s poll authority scrapped late May 6 the results of the March 31 polls in the country’s largest city.
According to the YSK, the decision was made based on appeals that ineligible officers and polling staffs, who are supposed to be civil servants as per Turkish law, served during the elections.
The YSK decided to file a criminal complaint against the chair and members of district election councils, election managers and other persons responsible for appointing polling staffs “unlawfully.”
The mayoral certificate of the main opposition Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) Ekrem İmamoğlu, who rallied 48.8 percent of the votes in the March 31 election, has also been revoked by the council.
İmamoğlu addressed a crowd in Istanbul, condemning the YSK ruling and calling it a “blow to democracy.”
He vowed to win the re-election.
The decision was first announced by the AKP.
“With this decision, our demand for re-election has been vindicated,” said Recep Özel, the AKP representative at the YSK.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on May 7 that Istanbul Governor Ali Yerlikaya was appointed to head the municipality until the re-election.
The AKP’s candidate, Binali Yıldırım, who is a former parliament speaker and prime minister, will remain unchanged in the election, Erdoğan also said.
Yıldırım welcomed the decision.
“We had hit the road to serve Istanbul. God willing, our dedication will continue at the renewed polls,” he told reporters.
The board has also rejected objections to election results in Istanbul’s Maltepe and Büyükçekmece districts. Seats in both districts were won by CHP candidates.
The re-election is highly likely to be a two-candidate race, with smaller parties and independent runners anticipated to withdraw.