Turkey’s Erdogan calls for annulment of Istanbul election
ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said electoral authorities should annul Istanbul’s local elections due to irregularities, notably over the appointment of ballot box officials, the pro-government Sabah newspaper reported on Wednesday.
Initial results show the main opposition Republican People’s Party narrowly won control of Turkey’s biggest city in the mayoral elections, seemingly bringing an end to the 25-year rule there by Erdogan’s AK Party and its Islamist predecessors.
Speaking to reporters on his plane, returning from a trip to Moscow this week, Erdogan said that regulations requiring that ballot box officials be civil servants had not been met everywhere, with regular workers placed in charge in some places.
“Our colleagues have established this. Naturally all this casts doubt. If they take a sincere view, this will lead to annulment,” he said.
Any decision to annul the elections would rest with the High Election Board.
A senior AKP official said on Tuesday it would demand a new vote in Istanbul after its bid was rejected for a citywide recount of the March 31 election results after a series of recounts since the vote.
Erdogan said on Monday the local elections were marred by “organized crime” at ballot boxes in Istanbul. The loss of control in the city would be a setback for Erdogan, who has dominated Turkish politics for more than 16 years.