Campaigning resumes for a 23 June election after the cancellation of the 31 March vote. For the Supreme Electoral Council, there was no "theft of votes", only bureaucratic anomalies.
Istanbul (AsiaNews) – Ekrem İmamoğlu (pictured), the winner of Istanbul’s municipal election on 31 March elections, slammed "the lies" and "excuses" of the AKP, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Following the vote, the president had denounced "massive irregularities” in the city’s election. Since then, the Supreme Electoral Council set a new date for municipal elections, 23 June.
Speaking in Istanbul yesterday at the start of the new election campaign, İmamoğlu reiterated that "no one believes their [AKP’s] complaints ... And when I see their faces, I see that they too don't believe it either!"
İmamoğlu defeated the AKP candidate Binali Yildirim by about 14,000 votes. For Erdoğan's party, which had dominated the city for 25 years, the loss was the greatest humiliation.
Many observers think that the AKP’s claim of "massive" fraud was just a way to save face. The Supreme Electoral Council seems to back İmamoğlu.
Yesterday the Council released its report on the cancellation of the Istanbul elections. It states that, contrary to AKP claims, "no fact can lead to the conclusion that there were any theft of votes".
The reasons given for the cancellation are entirely bureaucratic: many of the presidents in the 754 polling stations were members of the civil service and in 108 stations the voter list sheet had no signature.