Outrage in Turkey as Erdogan calls for election re-run in Istanbul

Opposition parties claim that the Supreme Election Council nullified last month’s results due to pressure from Ergodan’s party who lost the bid

May 08, 2019 by Peoples Dispatch
Protests have erupted across Istanbul over the decision to re-run the election. Photo: Reuters

Widespread protests have broken out in Turkey against the Supreme Election Council’s (YSK) decision to hold re-polling on June 23 for the mayorship of Istanbul. Last month, president Recep Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) lost to the secularist Republican People’s Party (CHP) in the capital Ankara, Izmir, and Istanbul in closely contested local body polls. Erdogan had previously served as the mayor of Istanbul from 1994 to 1998. The defeat was humiliating for the AKP, who challenged the results.

Opposition parties claimed that the Election Council was pressured by the AKP to nullify people’s mandate against the fundamentalist regime of Erdogan. On April 17, Republican People’s Party’s Ekrem Imamoğlu was declared the winner of March 31 election with a narrow lead of 13,729 votes against AKP’s Binali Yıldırım.

The CHP condemned Election Council’s decision to call for re-election, saying that it is “neither democratic nor legitimate”.

“If there is doubt on balloting committees, then the April 16, 2017 constitutional referendum, June 24, 2018 presidential and parliamentary elections and the district mayor and city council elections, carried out with same ballots and same envelopes on March 31 along with Istanbul Metropolitan Mayor elections, should be renewed with the same criteria,” CHP stated.

The Communist Party of Turkey (TKP) claimed that Erdogan’s persuasion was the sole reason behind YKP’s decision for re-elections. “Although we have a political, ideological and class opposition, we have already announced that Imamoglu is the legitimate Metropolitan Mayor. We think that any approach to shadowing this fact will be wrong. The issue is not the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, but an attempt by the political power to usurp the General Voting Right, one of the most important gains of humanity,” said TKP.

According to reports, the CHP has ruled out boycotting the re-election. The Daily Sabah reported that Ekrem Imamoğlu held a rally late Monday, and stated that he will emerge even stronger in the next elections.