Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Erdogan Calls for Annulment of Istanbul Elections

Erdogan Calls for Annulment of Istanbul Elections

Wednesday, 10 April, 2019 - 09:45
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. (Reuters)
Asharq Al-Awsat
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on Wednesday for the annulment of Istanbul’s local elections over irregularities.

Initial results show the main opposition Republican People’s Party narrowly won control of Turkey’s biggest city in the mayoral elections, seemingly bringing an end to the 25-year rule there by Erdogan’s AK Party and its Islamist predecessors.

Speaking to reporters on his plane, returning from a trip to Moscow this week, Erdogan said that regulations requiring that ballot box officials be civil servants had not been met everywhere, with regular workers placed in charge in some places.

“Our colleagues have established this. Naturally all this casts doubt. If they take a sincere view, this will lead to annulment,” he said, according to the pro-government Sabah newspaper.

Any decision to annul the elections would rest with the High Election Board.

A senior AKP official said on Tuesday it would demand a new vote in Istanbul after its bid was rejected for a citywide recount of the March 31 election results after a series of recounts since the vote.

Erdogan said on Monday the local elections were marred by “organized crime” at ballot boxes in Istanbul.

The loss of control in the city would be a setback for Erdogan, who has dominated Turkish politics for more than 16 years.

On Tuesday, the High Election Board rejected the AKP’s request to recount all votes in 31 Istanbul districts.

This prompted the party to declare that it will seek a re-run of the mayoral election in the city.

The AKP’s High Election Board (YSK) representative Recep Ozel told reporters the board had only agreed to a recount of 51 ballot boxes, spread across 21 of the city’s total 39 districts. A total of 350 voters are assigned to each ballot box.

Erdogan’s party has already lost the mayoralty in the capital Ankara to the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), and has appealed several stages of the count in Istanbul which showed a narrow CHP victory.

The opposition has accused the party of being a "bad loser" and has repeatedly called on Erdogan to concede that his party lost.

Editor Picks