Turkey’s election board orders rerun of Istanbul mayoral vote

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Turkey’s election board orders rerun of Istanbul mayoral vote

Turkey’s top election board announced on Monday that the vote for the mayor of Istanbul, the country’s largest city and economic hub, will be re-done.

The new vote will be held on June 23.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Justice and Development (AK) Party had lodged an “extraordinary objection” and asked for a rerun of the election after several partial appeals it made for a recount did not result in any action.

Erdogan’s party alleged voting irregularities made the results invalid. 

Election board members accepted the AK Party’s objection to the election results on Monday with seven votes in favour and four votes against, state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

Ekrem Imamoglu of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) was declared the mayor of the metropolis on April 17, pending the AK Party’s latest objection.

The race ended in an extremely close result, according to the final tally announced by the provincial election board.

Imamoglu secured the mayoral seat with 4,169,765 votes, while the AK Party’s Binali Yildrim received 4,156,036 votes – a difference of 13,729 votes.

The Turkish lira weakened after the AKP’s representative on the election board, Recep Ozel, tweeted the decision that has kept Turks and investors in suspense since the March 31 elections.

The CHP said on Monday it was a “plain dictatorship” that decided on a re-run of local elections in Istanbul. 

“It is illegal to win against the AK Party,” CHP party Deputy Chairman Onursal Adiguzel said on Twitter. “This system that overrules the will of the people and disregards the law is neither democratic, nor legitimate.”

The opposition has in the past questioned the independence of the electoral body, and members held an emergency meeting on Monday night, private NTV television reported.

Millions of Turkish voters cast their votes nationwide on March 31 in local elections to choose mayors, city council members, and other officials for the next five years. 

The elections were a major setback for Erdogan. His party lost city hall in the capital, Ankara, as well as Istanbul, ending a 25-year run in control of both cities by the AK Party.

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