Turkey’s Erdoğan likely benefitted from local election irregularities - analyst

Data shows the defeat of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Islamist party and its far-right allies in March 31 polls to elect a mayor of Istanbul cannot be explained by vote irregularities as they complained in their appeal against the result, and any anomalies mostly benefitted the ruling coalition, scholar Abdullah Aydoğan said in the Washington Post on Friday.

Aydoğan analysed the rise in the number of registered voters and the percentage of invalid votes and its correlation with the vote distribution of the parties. According to his analysis, in districts where the number of registered voters increased unusually or there was a high number of invalidated votes, the ruling alliance increased its vote share, not the opposition.

The Supreme Election Council on Monday upheld the appeal by Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) and ordered a rerun of the vote to elect a mayor of Turkey’s biggest city on June 23 after Ekrem İmamoğlu, the candidate for the main opposition Republican People’s Party, won the election by a narrow margin.

Aydoğan said the opposition might benefit from splits in the AKP between Erdoğan and former senior party figures such as the former president, Abdullah Gül, and the ex-prime minister, Ahmet Davutoğlu, but there was also the possibility the ruling party might resort to fraud to win the election.

Meanwhile, the timing of the election, at the height of summer, will benefit the ruling party as thousands of students and the city’s wealthier residents are likely to be away on holidays, Aydoğan said.