Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says he believes lawlessness and irregularities occurred in Istanbul mayoral elections. Opposition Republican People's Party says the decision to renew the vote is "neither democratic nor legitimate."
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday called the country’s top election body's decision for a do-over mayoral election in Istanbul an "important step in strengthening Turkey's democracy."
"We see this decision of the Turkish Supreme Election Council (YSK), which will remove the shadow over Istanbul elections, an important step in strengthening Turkey's democracy," Erdogan said during his address to lawmakers of his governing Justice and Development (AK) Party at the parliament group meeting in the capital Ankara.
His remarks came a day after Turkey's election authority annulled the results of the March 31 vote in Istanbul, which opposition candidate Ekrem Imamoglu narrowly won, and scheduled a re-run for June 23.
Both Binali Yildirim from the governing party and Imamoglu, from the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), will be running again for the city's mayorship in the renewed polls.
“There is no such thing that AK Party does not accept the result that comes out from the ballot box," Erdogan said.
"We sincerely believe organised corruption, utter lawlessness and irregularity occurred in the Istanbul elections," he added.
"I'd like to emphasise that Turkey is a democratic state that abides by the law. If the Supreme Election Council had reached a different decision, as we've said several times before, we would have respected it," Erdogan added.
In a statement to the AP, presidential communications director Fahrettin Altun said: "Having held free and fair elections for nearly seven decades, Turkey will complete this process in a transparent, lawful and orderly manner."
'Neither democratic nor legitimate'
"Those who take their power from the palace will be brought to account before history one day. We take our power from the people," CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu said in a televised speech.
CHP condemned the decision by YSK to renew the election as "neither democratic nor legitimate."
"Maybe you are upset but never lose your hope," Imamoglu told thousands of his supporters on Monday night in the Beylikduzu district on Istanbul's outskirts, where he was previously mayor.
He met Kilicdaroglu and will later meet IYI party leader Meral Aksener, the CHP said on Tuesday.
'Organised corruption' in Istanbul polls
The council members accepted the AK Party's objection to the local election results in Istanbul with seven votes in favour and four against.
The YSK said that the decision was taken as some ballot committee members who served during the elections were not civil servants as required by law.