TURKEY

Kılıçdaroğlu targets top election board once again

The main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said on Wednesday that the party will contest against the Supreme Election Council (YSK), not against the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party), in the redo elections in Istanbul slated for June 23; another harsh statement against judiciary members by the CHP chair.

Stressing that annulling municipal elections while approving polls for district and municipal council was a contradictory decree, Kılıçdaroğlu asserted that there was no valid reason to renew elections in Istanbul.

"I do not trust the election board anymore. Our competitor in the elections will be the YSK as it hit a blow to the people's will," Kılıçdaroğlu said.

The result of the March 31 local polls in Istanbul was followed by lengthy discussions and objections by parties demanding a do-over election due to irregularities and unlawfulness. After the elections, the AK Party submitted an extraordinary objection to the YSK for the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, Maltepe Municipality and Büyükçekmece Municipality two weeks ago to cancel and redo the Istanbul municipal election. The YSK said its decision to annul the polls was based on unsigned result documents from the election and on some ballot box officials not being civil servants. The CHP chair previously had described the YSK decision as a "frame" against democracy and blamed seven members of the YSK, who voted in favor of canceling the March 31 elections, of being "gang members" who work for the interests of the ruling party. The statement received harsh criticism from other parties.

Ekrem İmamoğlu, the CHP's mayoral candidate in Istanbul, also said that the decision of the YSK's seven members who voted in favor of taking away his mandate as the mayor of Istanbul does not mean anything for him.

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