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Turkey election board rejects opposition bid

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan

Turkey’s High Election Board (YSK) has rejected bids by opposition parties to annul all votes in the Istanbul local elections, as well as last year’s nationwide elections, broadcaster NTV said on Monday.

The YSK last week ordered a re-run of the Istanbul mayoral election, citing irregularities in the appointment of polling station officials after appeals by President Tayyip Erdogan’s AK Party (AKP), but did not cancel votes for district administrators, mayors, and municipal councils.

The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Iyi (Good) Party argued that if the mayoral vote – which the CHP won – was cancelled then all the other votes in Istanbul, as well as Erdogan’s victory in a presidential election last year, should also be annulled because the same flaws took place in those elections.

After weeks of appeals by the AKP and its nationalist MHP ally, the election board ruled last week for a re-run of the Istanbul mayoral election which the CHP’s Ekrem Imamoglu won by a narrow margin.

It was the first time in 25 years that the AKP or its Islamist predecessors had failed to win control of Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city with a budget of close to $4 billion. Erdogan launched his own political career as Istanbul mayor.

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