Turkey's top election body confirmed yesterday that voter lists from recent local elections would remain unchanged for the upcoming rerun elections in Istanbul. Supreme Election Council (YSK) Chairman Sadi Güven told reporters that all eligible voters who cast their ballots in the March 31 municipal elections would be able to do so again in the renewed polls on June 23 to elect Istanbul's metropolitan mayor.
He noted that only the official committees presiding over ballot boxes would be changed to consist only of civil servants, as required by law, and that the electoral lists had already been shared with the participating political parties. Güven also said that officials are working on the reasoned decision for the YSK's decision to cancel and renew the municipal elections in Istanbul and added that the renewed decision will be publicly announced when it is completed.
Millions of Turkish voters cast their ballots nationwide in the March 31 local elections to choose mayors, city council members and other officials for the next five years.
Elections in Istanbul saw main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) candidate Ekrem İmamoğlu awarded the certificate of the election, with only a 13,729 vote lead over his rival, the Justice and Development Party's (AK Party) Binali Yıldırım.
The decision was followed by lengthy discussions and objections by the 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. Last week, the YSK ruled seven to four in favor and annulled the results of the mayoral election in Istanbul. The renewed election will be held on June 23. The decision was based on unsigned result documents from the March 31 election and the fact that some ballot box officials were not civil servants.
Erdoğan warns AK PARTY
lawmakers about campaigning periodMeanwhile, as the redo elections are approaching, parties have started their election campaigns. President Erdoğan conveyed his instructions for the campaigning process to the AK Party's members of Parliament during a recent iftar dinner in Istanbul. Erdoğan's instructions include working in Parliament on holiday days, not walking with large groups of bodyguards, building one-on-one relationships with citizens and committing all their attention to the Istanbul election.
On the other hand, Parliament members conveyed their complaints to President Erdoğan during the same meeting. The top concern was difficulty in reaching ministers. In the new presidential government system, ministers do not have any obligation to participate in parliamentary processes. This causes a problem for parliamentarians who need to directly communicate with ministers.
MHP launches its election
The Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), on the other hand, has launched its election campaign strategy called "Fellow Townsman Movement." Thus, the MHP will focus their strategies on Anatolian cities from where Istanbul attracts the highest number of migrants. Using fellow townsman associations, the MHP will try to win over voters' relatives in Anatolian cities.
Convening an organizational meeting led by Deputy Chair Semih Yalçın in Ankara, the MHP has determined its campaigning strategies for the upcoming Istanbul elections. The party organization will organize face-to-face meetings with almost 1.7 million voters who did not cast their votes in the recent elections on March 31. The party organization's analyses reveal that most of these voters consist of conservative and nationalist citizens who are closer to the People's Alliance of the AK Party and the MHP.