pcloudyn.png
Saturday January 18th, 2020 2:02AM

Turkey's electoral board orders re-run of Istanbul vote

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey's top election authority voided the Istanbul mayoral election won by an opposition candidate and ordered a do-over, ruling Monday in favor of a request by the president's party to throw out the vote it narrowly lost.

Opposition leaders said the Supreme Electoral Board's decision to invalidate the results from Istanbul's election raises concerns about President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's grip on power and Turkish democracy in general.

A top aide for Erdogan told The Associated Press that the voiding of the mayoral election in Turkey's biggest city amounts to "a victory for Turkish democracy" by ensuring the results reflect the voters' choice.

Ekrem Imamoglu of the opposition Republican People's Party placed first by a slim margin in the March 31 mayoral election, defeating the ruling party candidate, former Prime Minister Binali Yildirim. Erdogan's conservative and Islamic-based Justice and Development Party then charged that a series of election irregularities made the results illegitimate.

Turkey's state-run Anadolu Agency said the Supreme Electoral Board revoked Imamoglu's mandate and called a new election for June 23. As grounds to annul the March 31 results, the board said that some ballot station heads were not civil servants as required by law, the news agency said.

Yildirim, the loser in the election, said he hoped the decision would lead to "beneficial and beautiful results for Istanbul."

In a statement to the AP, presidential communications director Fahrettin Altun said: "Having held free and fair elections for nearly seven decades, Turkey will complete this process in a transparent, lawful and orderly manner."

Leaders of the Imamoglu's main opposition party held an emergency meeting in the capital of Ankara late Monday.

Addressing thousands of his supporters in Istanbul, Imamoglu accused the electoral board of bowing to pressure and threats from Erdogan's party. He vowed to use "democracy" to win back the "rights" that he said were taken away by force. The crowd called for the electoral board members to resign and accused Erdogan of stealing the vote.

Kati Piri, the European Parliament's rapporteur on Turkey, said on Twitter: "This ends the credibility of democratic transition of power through elections in Turkey."

Police set up barricades around the electoral board's headquarters in Turkey's capital, but there were no immediate signs of major demonstrations. Protesters banged pots and pans in several Istanbul neighborhoods, the opposition Birgun newspaper reported.

Howard Eissenstat, a Turkey expert at the nonprofit Project for Middle East Democracy and a Middle East history scholar at St. Lawrence University in New York, said Monday's ruling "removes the last fig leaf of competitive elections" hiding the erosion of democracy in Turkey.

"Turkey wasn't democratic yesterday and it's not democratic today," Eissenstat said.

He noted that Erdogan's party previously invalidated election results in Turkey's mostly Kurdish-populated regions after a pro-Kurdish party won and replaced elected mayors with government appointees.

"Erdogan cannot afford to lose in the second round. It would a disastrous display of weakness," Eissenstat said.

The local elections held across Turkey on March 31 produced setbacks for the president. His party lost city hall in the capital as well as in Istanbul, ending 25 years of the Justice and Development Party and its Islamist predecessor governing both cities.

The loss of Istanbul, the country's commercial and cultural capital, was particularly hard for Erdogan. He began his political ascent as Istanbul's mayor.

At pre-election rallies, the president had repeatedly told crowds, "Whoever wins Istanbul, wins Turkey" and "Whoever loses Istanbul, loses Turkey."

Istanbul, with its 15 million residents and strategic location straddling Europe and Asia, accounted for 31% of Turkey's GDP of $851 billion in 2017 and draws millions of tourists.

The city government had a budget of $8.8 billion last year. The municipality has awarded lucrative contracts to businesses close to the government over the years and offers huge financial resources and employment opportunities.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Elections, General Presidential Election News, AP World News
© Copyright 2020 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Turkey's electoral board orders re-run of Istanbul vote
Turkey's highest electoral board is meeting Monday to decide whether an opposition politician is the rightful winner of Istanbul's mayoral race _ or whether a new election must be held
1:13PM ( 9 minutes ago )
O'Rourke's laugh line falls flat as kids talk serious issues
Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke is learning that reliable jokes during the campaign don't always make kids laugh, especially when they're wanting to talk about serious issues
12:58PM ( 23 minutes ago )
Harry, Meghan 'absolutely thrilled' about birth of baby boy
Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, has given birth to a healthy baby boy, a beaming Prince Harry announced to the world, declaring he's "incredibly proud" of his wife
12:50PM ( 31 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
US-China deal seems dim but possible as talks stay on track
Prospects for a US-China deal seem dimmer but possible as Beijing still prepares for talks
12:37PM ( 44 minutes ago )
Gaza quiet after Israel, Hamas agree to cease-fire
The Israeli military has lifted protective restrictions on residents in the south, while Gaza's ruling Hamas militant group reported a cease-fire deal had been reached to end the deadliest fighting between the two sides since a 2014 war
12:25PM ( 56 minutes ago )
Russian plane in deadly fire found few customers worldwide
The SSJ100 passenger jet that caught fire during an emergency landing in Moscow is part of Russia's effort to continue its extensive Soviet-era tradition of airplane design and construction
12:02PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP World News
O'Rourke's laugh line falls flat as kids talk serious issues
Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke is learning that reliable jokes during the campaign don't always make kids laugh, especially when they're wanting to talk about serious issues
12:58PM ( 23 minutes ago )
Harry, Meghan 'absolutely thrilled' about birth of baby boy
Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, has given birth to a healthy baby boy, a beaming Prince Harry announced to the world, declaring he's "incredibly proud" of his wife
12:50PM ( 31 minutes ago )
Red Sox put Price on injured list with elbow tendinitis
Boston Red Sox left-hander David Price been placed on 10-day injured list because of tendinitis in pitching elbow
12:48PM ( 33 minutes ago )
US rushes ships to Middle East over unspecified Iran threats
The U.S. is dispatching an aircraft carrier and other military resources to the Middle East following "clear indications" that Iran and its proxy forces were preparing to possibly attack U.S. forces in the region
12:45PM ( 36 minutes ago )
The Latest: Election board orders Istanbul election redone
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
12:44PM ( 37 minutes ago )