Turkey's election board orders rerun of Istanbul mayoral vote

2019-05-07 10:54


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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, according the Turkish state media quoting the board.

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 previous appeals it made for a smattering of partial and full recounts across the city were completed.

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

Turkey's high 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, sixteen days after the March 31 local elections, pending the AK Party's last objection for rerun of the polls.

The late announcement of his seat was the result of Erdogan's party's previous complaints about the extremely close result.


Erdogan Toprak, an Istanbul MP with the CHP, told Al Jazeera that the board's decision to rerun the Istanbul polls opened the reliability of the Turkish legal and electoral system to a discussion.


"It is a decision that breaks the trust of the Turkish citizens and international community in elections in Turkey," he said.

"This wrong decision made by top legal personalities of Turkey shows the shadow of governing party's politics on the Turkish judiciary and elections," he added.

Markar Esayan, an AK Party MP from Istanbul, said the board made the right decision as his party discovered "organised irregularities" at many ballot boxes in Istanbul.

"We presented a concrete file of these iiregularities to the election board. A decision in the opposite direction would give a questionable five-year-term to the CHP's candidate," he told Al Jazeera.

"The objection process has been carried out in line with our legal system in a natural manner. This process has been used by the opposition party many times too."

Extremely close result

According to the final tally announced by the provincial election board on April 17, 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.


Istanbul mayorship have been controlled by the AK Party for the last 15 years. Erdogan was also the mayor of Istanbul between 1994 and 1998. 

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

The AK Party also lost the mayorship in the capital Ankara in the polls. 

The election took place against the backdrop of an economic slowdown in Turkey, amid spiralling inflation, rising unemployment and a devalued currency. The Turkish economy entered recession for the first time in a decade last year.

Erdogan had personally campaigned hard ahead of the local vote, his first election test since the crisis.

Follow Umut Uras on Twitter: @Um_Uras

Read more on:    turkey

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