Turkey election body orders Istanbul vote re-run

Turkey election body orders Istanbul vote re-run
2 min read
06 May, 2019
Turkey's Supreme Election Council (YSK) announces do-over of Istanbul local elections, which saw Ekrem Imamoglu narrowly win - defeating the ruling candidate of President Erdogan's party.
Opposition politician Ekrem Imamoglu was officially made mayor last month [AFP]
Turkey's top election body ordered a re-run of the Istanbul mayoral vote on Monday following the shock defeat of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's party, the state news agency reported.

The re-run was called after a meeting of the Supreme Election Board, according to the Anadolu news agency, and was confirmed by Recep Ozel, the ruling Justice and Development Party's (AKP) representative to the body.

Opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) politician Ekrem Imamoglu narrowly won the race for mayor of Istanbul in Turkey's 31 March local elections, defeating ruling party candidate Binali Yildirim, a former prime minister.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's ruling party, however, challenged the result, citing alleged irregularities that it insists impacted the result of the vote and requesting the election in the city to be repeated.

Erdogan has linked the "excessive" irregularities the AKP alleges to "organised crime".

More than 40 election committee officials in Istanbul were found to be members of the "Fethullah Gulen Terrorist Organisation" or "FETO", the state Anadolu agency reported on Sunday.

"FETO" is the Turkish state moniker for followers of Fethullah Gulen, an exiled Turkish cleric who, after falling out with the AKP in 2013, is accused of staging a coup attempt by Turkey in 2016.

Thousands of alleged Gulenists have been dismissed from public sector jobs and even imprisoned over the past three years. 

While the Supreme Electoral Board (YSK) rejected a secondary appeal by the AKP, it announced on Monday that it had cancelled the election.

A re-run of the election is due to be held on 2 June, although this date is subject to change.