Turkey Election Body Orders Istanbul Re-vote
Turkey’s top election body has ordered a rerun of the Istanbul mayoral race after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s political party refused to accept a shocking defeat. The ruling AK Party for the first time in a quarter century lost control over the country’s biggest city in the hotly contested March 31 local elections. Thereafter, Erdogan claimed “irregularities and corruption” in the vote, won by only 13,000 ballots by Ekrem Imamoglu of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP). The AK Party also lost control over the capital Ankara, in a major setback for Erdogan that reportedly has led to infighting within his party. Analysts largely attribute Erdogan’s setback to a reeling economy plagued by a currency crisis that created high inflation and, as a corollary, a marked increase in the cost of living. The CHP, which previously referred to Erdogan as a “bad loser,” was set to hold an emergency meeting Tuesday to discuss the development. Notably, the AK Party did not request a redo of the vote for Istanbul’s local assembly, in which it secured a majority of seats. As things stand, the new mayoral election is scheduled for June 23.