Istanbul braces for re-run of cancelled municipal elections

Global Business

Istanbul braces for re-run of cancelled municipal elections

A day after Turkey’s high election board announced it was going to cancel the Istanbul mayoral elections, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan welcomes the decision while other reactions have been critical. Michal Bardavid has more.

Turkey is now bracing itself for a potentially historical election; a re-run of the Istanbul mayoral race, which is now set for June 23. The opposition candidate, Ekrem Imamoglu, who won the election called the high election board decision ”treacherous.” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the other hand, welcomed the decision – and stated the he believed “corruption and irregularities,” were involved in the Istanbul elections.

Erdogan and his AK Party supporters are hoping for a different result in the renewed elections. Some analysts said shifting the votes of smaller parties may be key.

“There are two main structures, one is the votes of the Felicity Party, which won over 100,000 votes, the second is the votes of the People’s Democratic Party HDP,” said Ragip Kutay Karaca, a professor at Istanbul Aydin University.

However he added that some parties have already started to take a stand.

“There are also parties whose candidates have withdrawn to support Imamoglu; the Communist Party of Turkey, Democratic Left Party and an Independent candidate have withdrawn. The total of their votes is around fifty-thousand.”

The winner of the Istanbul Mayoral election CHP candidate Ekrem Imamoglu won with a very tight margin, with just about 13,000 votes. Once again Istanbul citizens find themselves polarized and many locals have mixed reactions to the decision to annul the elections.

“This is injustice done to Imamoglu; this is a coup. We will tell everyone about it without fear. As a citizen I’m against this, this is interfering with the values of the republic,” said one resident.

“We had doubts regarding the ballots, I believed there were issues and problems with the ballots. Once again, there will be voting and counting will be done correctly without stealing votes and the real party will win,” said another.

“I feel bad, I believe it will be worse. It would have been better if they didn’t annul the elections. I mean I support AK Party but still the elections shouldn’t have been cancelled. Injustice has been done,” added a third.

There were some reactions from Western allies as well. Kati Piri, the European Parliament’s Turkey rapporteur stated that the annulment “ends the credibility of democratic transition of power through elections” in Turkey. The German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas stated the decision was “not comprehensible.” The High Election Board is yet to announce the details of the justification for the annulment of the election.

Cenk Karatas on the impact of Istanbul’s election re-do on Turkey’s economy

CGTN’s John Terrett spoke with Cenk Karatas, senior analyst on Turkish political affairs and a Fellow at the Global Policy Institute about Istanbul’s re-do of municipal elections and the economic impact.