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AKP seeks to cancel votes of purged civil servants in İstanbul election

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Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) on Saturday submitted a petition to the country’s top election authority asking it to cancel the votes of civil servants who were expelled from their posts by government decrees in the aftermath of a failed coup attempt in July 2016, the T24 news website reported.

The AKP’s petition to the country’s Supreme Election Board (YSK) includes a list of purged civil servants who cast votes in the local elections of March 31 in İstanbul.

There was ambiguity over the results of the elections in İstanbul until last Wednesday, when the opposition’s mayoral candidate, Ekrem İmamoğlu, was eventually certified as mayor by the İstanbul provincial election board.

The AKP has been disputing the election results, making the authorities recount the votes in many districts of İstanbul.

AKP Deputy Chairman Ali İhsan Yavuz announced on Saturday that his party has found that a total of 14,712 people who were removed from public posts though government decrees cast votes in İstanbul.

The AKP government removed from their civil servant jobs more than 150,000 people on terrorism or coup charges in the aftermath of the failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016. These people were fired thanks to controversial government decrees during a state of emergency that lasted for two years and granted extraordinary powers to the government.

The AKP petitioned the YSK on April 16, asking for the election in İstanbul to be held again, claiming that there were irregularities in the voter registry and mistakes in vote counts and there was wrongdoing in the formation of the election commissions.

The AKP’s move about the purge victims attracted widespread criticism for being unlawful.

Republican People’s Party (CHP) İstanbul provincial chairperson Canan Kaftancıoğlu, whose party won the İstanbul mayoralty, said it is unlawful to say purge victims can’t vote in the elections once the elections are over.

“They know this well, too. When they saw they lost, they made recounts of invalid votes unlawfully. It was not enough for them and they submitted petitions asking for a recount of all votes,” said Kaftancıoğlu.

In a controversial move on April 10, the YSK announced that candidates who were elected mayor during the local polls would not be certified to hold office if they were expelled from their public jobs by decrees issued by the AKP after the coup attempt. The board said the candidates who received the highest number of votes after the purge victims should be given the mandate to govern.

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