Former PM Davutoğlu expresses unease over cancellation of İstanbul election results

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Former Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu

Former Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has voiced concern about a controversial decision by Turkey’s election authority to cancel the results of a mayoral election in İstanbul, which was won by an opposition candidate.

In a controversial decision on Monday, the YSK ordered a new mayoral election to be held in İstanbul, cancelling the results of the March 31 local election.

The YSK announced its 7-4 decision due to allegations of electoral fraud and irregularities after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) lost the race by a razor-thin margin in İstanbul.

In a message from his Twitter account on Tuesday, Davutoğlu, who served in top positions of AKP governments until he was forced to step down as prime minister in 2016, said cancellation of the İstanbul vote “weakened our fundamental values.”

He described the YSK’s decision as against universal law and common practice.

“The most fundamental value of our political tradition is the public having the final say at the ballot box.  Regardless of the excuse or pretext [for the YSK decision], what took place after the March 31 [local elections] and the YSK’s cancelation decision have inflicted damage on our fundamental values,” tweeted Davutoğlu.

Davutoğlu came to public attention earlier this month with his criticism of the AKP and its policies.

In his first major public challenge to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan since leaving office three years ago, Davutoğlu slammed the party’s economic policies, media restrictions and the damage he said it had done to the separation of powers and to Turkey’s institutions.

Davutoğlu served as prime minister between 2014 and 2016 before a falling out with Erdoğan, who has ruled Turkey with his AKP for 16 years.

In a similar development on Tuesday, former President Abdullah Gül, who was among the co-founders of the AKP, also expressed concern over the election board’s announcement to re-run the İstanbul mayoral election.

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