May 08 2019

Bar associations say Istanbul poll rerun decision is a "disgrace"

Bar associations in Turkey issued a joint press statement on the decision by the country's electoral board to cancel and rerun the mayoral election in Istanbul, saying that the ruling is a "disgrace", Diken news website reported on Wednesday.

Following Turkey’s Supreme Election Council (YSK)'s decision, 49 bar associations said it's not possible to "juristically or conscientiously" accept the cancellation.

"That being the case, the decision, which was made by ignoring our democracy accumulation and culture and case-laws developed within years, claims its place in our history of democracy and law as a disgrace," the statement said.

The main opposition Republican People’s Party’s candidate Ekrem İmamoğlu won March 31 mayoral elections by a narrow margin, but President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s ruling party appealed the YSK alleging fraud and the board on May 6 ordered a rerun of the election on June 23.

The YSK did not cancel three other ballots cast by Istanbul voters in the same envelope, but only cancelled the Istanbul Municipality results. Istanbul residents voted for Istanbul Municipality Assembly members, district mayors and neighbourhood headmen along with Istanbul Metropolitan Mayor. However, the YSK cancelled only the Istanbul Municipality election where the AKP candidate lost.