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Polling station staff investigated over İstanbul vote ‘irregularities’

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More than 100 polling staff members who were working in İstanbul during Turkey’s March 31 local elections have been summoned by prosecutors as part of an investigation into alleged irregularities in the İstanbul vote, won by the opposition candidate, the Habertürk daily reported on Thursday.

The Anatolia Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office launched 32 investigations into alleged election irregularities at polling stations in İstanbul’s Maltepe, Kadıköy and Ataköy districts as part of which more than 100 polling station staff members have been summoned to testify as suspects.

The investigations have been launched based on criminal complaints filed by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), its election partner the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and in some cases by district election boards.

The polling station officials are being questioned over allegations of violations of election law and abuse of power in counting votes and entering dates.

Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) mayoral candidate Ekrem İmamoğlu won the election in İstanbul against the AKP’s candidate, Binali Yıldırım; however, İmamoğlu was not given the mandate to govern until April 17 because the AKP objected to the election results, asking for a recount of votes in many İstanbul districts.

Even after İmamoğlu officially began his tenure, the AKP was still trying to secure the cancellation of the İstanbul vote through an application to the country’s top election authority, the Supreme Election Board (YSK), which is expected to make a decision next Monday.

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