The Latest: Voided vote called ‘victory’ for democracy
The Associated Press
May 06, 2019 03:03 PM
FILE – In a Saturday, April 27, 2019 file photo, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gestures as he arrives to deliver a speech to members of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Ankara, Turkey, during a three-day closed door meeting to assess recent local election results. After weeks of uncertainty, Turkey’s highest electoral board could decide as early as Monday, May 6 whether an opposition politician was the rightful winner of Istanbul’s mayoral race _ or whether a new election must be held.(Presidential Press Service via AP, Pool, File)
The Latest on disputed mayoral elections in Turkey (all times local):
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesman says the voiding of the mayoral election in Istanbul amounts to “a victory for Turkish democracy” by ensuring the results reflect the voters’ choice.
Presidential communications director Fahrettin Altun told The Associated Press that the new local election the country’s top election board ordered for June 23 extends Turkey’s record of holding free and fair elections for nearly seven decades.
The Supreme Election Board ruled in favor of Erdogan’s party Monday and invalidated results from the March 31 election that made an opposition candidate mayor of the country’s largest city.
Altun said: “We are also confident that the justice system will hold accountable all individuals and organizations that violated electoral laws during this process.”
The ruling party alleged election irregularities. Recounts it demanded and earlier appeals had been unsuccessful in putting Erdogan’s candidate in office.
A member of the European Union’s parliament has criticized a decision by Turkey’s top election authority to repeat the mayoral election in Istanbul that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s party lost.
Kati Piri, the European Parliament’s rapporteur on Turkey, wrote on Twitter Monday she thinks Erdogan “does not accept defeat” and the Supreme Electoral Board acted under pressure.
Piri said the board’s decision to invalidate the election that made an opposition candidate mayor of Turkey’s largest city “goes against the will of the people.”
She added: “This ends the credibility of democratic transition of power through elections in Turkey.”
Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party alleged a series of election irregularities had affected the vote’s outcome. The election board ruled in the party’s favor Monday.
The board said a new mayoral election would be held on June 23.
Turkey’s state-run news agency says the country’s highest electoral body has ruled for a rerun of the Istanbul mayoral election after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s party challenged the legitimacy of the vote an opposition candidate narrowly won.
Anadolu Agency said the Supreme Electoral Board on Monday ruled in favor of Erdogan’s conservative and Islamic-based party and annulled the results of the March 31 local election in Istanbul. It was not immediately clear when the election would be repeated.
In a major setback to Erdogan’s 16-year rule, the opposition took control of local governments in the capital of Ankara and Istanbul, ending the ruling party’s decades-long control of both cities.
Erdogan’s party challenged the results in Istanbul, maintaining that alleged irregularities had affected the outcome.
Turkey’s highest electoral board is meeting to decide whether an opposition politician is the rightful winner of Istanbul’s mayoral race — or whether a new election must be held.
Ekrem Imamoglu narrowly won the race for mayor of Istanbul in Turkey’s March 31 local elections, defeating ruling party candidate Binali Yildirim, a former prime minister.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling party is however, challenging the result, citing alleged irregularities that it insists impacted the result of the vote. It wants the election in the city to be repeated.
The Supreme Electoral Board began its deliberations on Monday. A decision could come later or in the next few days.