In the wake of a controversial decision from Turkey’s Supreme Election Board (YSK) on Monday to re-run the mayoral election in İstanbul, the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has called for all elections in İstanbul to be held again in addition to the resignation of all board members.
The YSK announced its 7-4 decision due to allegations of electoral fraud after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) lost the race by a razor-thin margin in İstanbul in the March 31 local elections.
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.
The YSK’s decision, which was based on the assignment of polling station officials who were not public servants as stipulated by law, came after a number of objections filed by the AKP.
The CHP convened its Party Council (PM) meeting on Tuesday following the YSK decision. In a statement released following the meeting, the party said: “If there is controversy over polling station officials, using the same logic the elections for district mayors and city council members should also be held again. The YSK members should all resign due to the crime they committed against the voters.”
The CHP also said a public referendum held on April 16, 2017 and the June 24 general and presidential elections held in 2018 should also be re-run because the same polling station officials were on duty.
In the meantime CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, who spoke at his party’s parliamentary group meeting on Tuesday, described the seven YSK members who voted in favor of the cancellation of the İstanbul vote as a “gang.”
“I am telling the seven-member gang, no matter from where you derive your power, we will emerge successful from the elections. Your power can never affect us because we get our power from the people. Those whose power comes from the palace [a reference to Erdoğan] will give an accounting of their actions one day,” said Kılıçdaroğlu.
The CHP decided not to boycott the new election, which will be held on June 23 in İstanbul.