No further legal action for 17 suspects charged with irregularities in local elections

Published 28.09.2019 00:00

The chief public prosecutor on the Asian side of Istanbul on Friday said they will not be proceeding further with investigations into 17 suspects around irregularities in the March 31 local elections.

Seventeen suspects including 10 district election board heads were being investigated due to irregularities in the appointment of officials in ballot box committees.

Recently the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor's Office had filed lawsuits against 37 people who were investigated over irregularities in the March 31 local elections.

The suspects were charged for suspected links to the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ). Seven different indictments accused three suspects of being members of FETÖ and 34 suspects of supporting FETÖ without being members.

Millions of Turkish voters went to the polls on March 31 to choose mayors, city council members, mukhtars (neighborhood officials) and members of elder councils for five years.

In Istanbul, the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) candidate Ekrem İmamoğlu received 48.8% of the vote, whereas the ruling Justice and Development Party's (AK Party) Binali Yıldırım got 48.55%, according to official figures from the Supreme Election Council (YSK).

The results in March were canceled after the AK Party appealed to the YSK, citing irregularities and contradictions with legal measures, leading to the annulment of İmamoğlu's mayoral certificate, awarded by the provincial election board on April 17.

Some 30,281 votes in 108 ballot boxes were declared invalid due to vote-counting sheets being unsigned or absent altogether, the YSK said in its detailed ruling, along with balloting committee chairmen in 754 polling centers who were not civil servants as prescribed by law. The YSK said this practice was unprecedented and influenced the difference between İmamoğlu and Yıldırım, a slim margin of 13,729 votes that fell from the original 29,000 after appeals and recounts, and had thus raised questions on the validity of the results.

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