Turkey cancels Istanbul election won by opposition

Photo: EPA We see this as an important step to strengthen our democracy,” Erdogan told lawmakers from his AK Party in parliament.

Turkey’s national election board canceled results of the Istanbul mayoral race that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling party lost five weeks ago and ordered a rerun, sparking outrage in opposition ranks and fueling investor concerns over heightened economic volatility. Ruling on complaints filed by Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party, or AKP, the election board said a new vote was necessary because fraud and irregularities had material influence on the 31 March results in Istanbul.

Ruling AKP says balloting was marred by fraud and irregularities, but outraged mayor’s party calls situation a matter of wanting to preserve control

The opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) won control of both Istanbul and capital city Ankara in the local elections, dealing a blow to Erdogan's AKP. But in Istanbul, the victory was a narrow one, with CHP at 48.79% of the vote -- just ahead of AKP's 48.51%.

According to Anadolu agency, the re-run will take place on 23 June and Ekrem Imamoglu, Istanbul's new CHP mayor, had his mayoral certificate canceled by YSK on Monday.

Monday's ruling was denounced by Turkey's opposition.

"It is illegal to win against the (AKP) Party," CHP's Deputy Chairman Onursal Adiguzel said on Twitter, according to Reuters. "This system that overrules the will of the people and disregards the law is neither democratic, nor legitimate. This is plain dictatorship."

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday the decision to re-run Istanbul’s mayoral election was an important step toward strengthening democracy, describing the March vote as marred by “organized corruption” and illegality.

“We see this as an important step to strengthen our democracy,” Erdogan told lawmakers from his AK Party in parliament. “We believe there was organized corruption and full illegality in the Istanbul mayoral elections.”

The Turkish lira tumbled against the dollar after the election decision, bringing its losses this year to 14% as investors fretted about political uncertainty and business leaders criticized the move.

Erdogan said Turkey was facing economic sabotage and vowed to fend off attacks on the economy. “So, what are we going to do? From now on, we will do what we did to terrorists.”

Turkey’s Western allies have also expressed concern about the election’s annulment. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said the decision was neither transparent nor comprehensible.







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