Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday, April 10th, that the election authorities should cancel the local elections in Istanbul because of irregularities, most notably the appointment of polling officials, Reuters has reported.
Preliminary results showed that the Republican People's Party (CHP), the largest opposition party, won a narrow margin in municipal elections in Istanbul, ending the dominance of Erdogan's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and Islamist parties in the city for 25 years.
Speaking to reporters on board his plane returning from a visit to Moscow this week, Erdogan said the regulations required the appointment of polling officials from the civil service, but this did not happen in some places where they hired staff outside this category.
"If they look at it honestly, it will lead to the cancellation of the elections," Erdogan said.
A senior AK Party official said on Tuesday the party would demand fresh elections in Istanbul after its demand for a re-count was rejected across the city. The elections were held on March 31st.
The AKP has already called for the cancellation of elections in Istanbul's Buyuk-chikmege district, citing irregularities in voters' records. The police are checking whether some of those who voted have already been residents of the area.
Akram Imamoglu, candidate of the opposition CHP in the Istanbul municipal elections, said the AKP assessed whether new elections in Buyuk-chikmege could tilt the balance across Istanbul. "I say, give up this artificial process here and exhaust our police with such an operation," he said. He urged the High Election Board (YSK) to announce the official results of Istanbul.
"Let me say to those who do not know: We have won, it's over and enough," Imamoglu said. The regional head of the opposition Republican People's Party (KDP) in Istanbul told KRT Television that he was still ahead by 14,005 votes after recounting 97.4% of the vote.
Erdogan said on Monday the local elections were marred by "organized crime" at the ballot boxes in Istanbul.