Published: Thu, May 09, 2019
Global Media | By Garry Long

Germany Says Voters Alone Must Decide on Istanbul Mayor's Office

Germany Says Voters Alone Must Decide on Istanbul Mayor's Office

Turkey's main opposition party leader on Tuesday said "very good things" would happen over the top election board's decision to re-run election for Istanbul metropolitan mayorship.

Turkey's dollar-denominated government bonds saw their biggest selloff in months on Tuesday, after news that Istanbul's mayoral elections would be annulled and re-run sent the lira tumbling to its lowest since October.

The President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan has appointed the temporary head of the Istanbul Municipality, Trend reports via Turkish media.

Former German Greens leader Cem Özdemir, who has Turkish roots, told Agence France-Presse the annulment had "nothing to with with democracy", but rather proves that Erdogan is a "bitter old man, who has long passed the zenith of his power".

The controversial decision has increased concerns over democracy and the rule of law in Turkey, a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member that is still formally a candidate to join the European Union.

The party's deputy chairman, Onursal Adiguzel, who represents Istanbul in parliament, said the ruling was "neither democratic nor legitimate".

He insisted there was "illegality" in the vote and said a re-run would represent "an important step to strengthen our democracy".

Cyclone Fani kills dozens in India and Bangladesh
According to a state government official, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to visit Odisha to review the situation. About 1.2 million people living in the most vulnerable districts in Bangladesh had been moved to some 4000 shelters.

Turkey's high election board members accepted the AK Party's objection to the election results on Monday with seven votes in favour and four votes against, state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

"Decision-makers in the country may be in error, misguided and may even be traitors... but we will never give up, do not lose your hope!"

"Ekrem Imamoglu is not [only] the candidate of CHP, he is the candidate of 16 million Istanbul citizens for the metropolitan municipality from now on", Kilicdaroglu said.

"Ensuring a free, fair and transparent election process is essential to any democracy and is at the heart of the European Union's relations with Turkey", the EU's diplomatic chief, Federica Mogherini, said in a statement.

A supporters' group for Mr Imamoglu urged restraint, saying: "Let's stand together, let's be calm".

Imamoglu won 48.8 percent of the vote in the Istanbul mayoral election, held on 31 March, while his opponent from the AKP, Binali Yildirim, got 48.55 percent. It was the first time in 25 years that AKP and its Islamist predecessors had lost control of the country's largest city.

The CHP also won in Ankara and Izmir, with AKP contesting the Ankara win and with some non-AKP mayors also forbidden to take up office despite having won it in minor towns in south-east Turkey. He rejected opposition accusations that his party was trying to win back a key election that it had lost.

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