The Supreme Election Council of Turkey decided by a majority to rerun elections for the Istanbul Municipality. Over ten million citizens are eligible to vote in less than six weeks.

Turkey’s Supreme Election Council (YSK) on Monday announced that a rerun of the Istanbul mayoral election will be held on June 23.

Council members accepted the governing Justice and Development (AK) Party's objection to the local election results in Istanbul with seven votes in favour and four against.

According to the YSK, the decision was taken because some presiding officers and polling staff during the original vote were not civil servants as per Turkish law.

Here are nine questions explaining why the rerun is taking place:

1) How did the Supreme Election Council vote?

The YSK accepted the AK Party’s application for the annulment of the election of the Istanbul Municipality by seven votes to four. YSK President Sadi Guven and three members voted against the cancellation request. 

2) What were the objections of the AK Party?

The AK Party objected with a 43-page document.

Arguments pertained to 5,388 missing stamps on official ledgers, 694 missing observer signatures, and 214 documents that had information missing.

Most significantly, the party charged that more than 19,000 ballot officers were not public servants, as required by Turkish law.

3) What is the official decision by the YSK?

The YSK accepted the complaint that several thousand ballot officers were not public servants and consequently annulled the result of the March 31 vote. 

Their number, however, was just over 3,500.

The YSK said that 42,000 votes in 123 stations were affected by irregularities, which is a number big enough to swing the mayoral election, but not the district results.

The difference in the first - and now annulled- mayoral election was just 14,000 votes.

4) Why was the Istanbul mayoral election cancelled but not the district mayor and municipal council votes?

The AK Party’s complaint only included the results of the Istanbul mayoral elections  and did not include other results. 

The AK Party says that in several polling stations, the AK party district candidates got votes but the AK Party mayoral candidate got none.

It says the discrepancy is “suspicious”. They gave the example of the Esenyurt 1734 ballot box, where the AK Party district candidate got 132 votes, but the mayoral candidate, Binali Yildirim got none.

The YSK concluded that the discrepancies were enough to swing the mayoral election but not district level elections.

 5) Does the Nation’s Alliance and their mayoral candidate Ekrem Imamoglu have the right to appeal against this decision of the YSK?

No, according to the constitution, the decisions made by the YSK are final.

6) When will the renewal be made?

Elections cancelled by the YSK must be held on the first Sunday after a 60-day campaigning period. The YSK has the right to shorten this period and has determined that the vote will be held on June 23.

7) Will the same candidates compete in the election to be repeated?

Yes, the AK Party announced that Binali Yildirim will be again their candidate. Nation’s Alliance announced as well that Ekrem Imamoglu will run again for office. 

8) Will Municipal Council elections, which the AK Party won, be renewed too?

No. The YSK only cancelled the Istanbul Municipality mayoral vote. No cancellation decision was made with regard to district mayors or municipal councils. 

9) Who will rule Istanbul until the elections?

The President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, announced that the governor of Istanbul will perform mayoral duties until the new elections. 

Source: TRT World