Council of Europe to observe new local elections in Istanbul

The Strasbourg-based Council of Europe on Thursday has announced that it will dispatch a monitoring team for the new round of local elections in Istanbul slated for June 23.

"The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities would like to confirm its willingness to deploy a delegation to observe this re-run on 23 June 2019 provided the official invitation arrives in due time", said a senior official, Anders Knape, in a letter to the Permanent Representative of Turkey to the Council of Europe.

Turkey's main opposition candidate Ekrem İmamoğlu was declared the winner of the March 31 mayoral polls in Istanbul by a narrow margin against the ruling party's candidate, Binali Yıldırım, a former prime minister.

However, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party lodged an objection alleging irregularities and the country's electoral body on Monday ordered a rerun to take place on June 23.

Following the decision by the Supreme Election Council, the Council of Europe, which also sent election monitors to the initial nationwide elections on March 31, said the decision may severely damage the trust of the Turkish voters in the electoral authorities.

The European Parliament’s rapporteur for Turkey, Kati Piri, said the decision would end the credibility of democratic elections in Turkey.