Al Jazeera voices the false claim that there is no legitimate basis for nullifying Istanbul election
On 6 May 2019, Turkey’s Supreme Electoral Council (YSK) called for a re-run of mayoral elections in Istanbul on 23 June. Since then, the YSK’s decision has been covered as the most important problem for Turkish politics by the international media outlets.
An Al Jazeera news story, covering the subject matter, voices the opposition CHP’s claim that the YSK’s verdict is illegitimate. However, the YSK has ruled in line with the constitution and the laws that regulate the election system in Turkey.
In Turkey, political parties’ and independent candidates’ objections to the election results consist of a three-stage process.
Following the completion of vote counts, parties and independent candidates can file their objections to the votes at district election board, where officials have a two-day decision-making period pursuant to article 128 of Law on Basic Provisions on Elections and Voter Registers. If it is accepted, votes in that particular district are required to be recounted. If the objections are denied, parties and independent candidates can bring their objections to the provincial election boards that have two days to assess and announce the results. If approved, votes are re-examined. If refused, parties and independent candidates can take their complaints to YSK, Turkey’s top election body, which has the final say on the subject matter according to Article 79 of the Constitution.
The YSK is made up of 11 members, six of whom are elected by general councils of Court of Cassation and five from Council of State, and decides by majority votes.
Before the YSK annulled the results of the mayoral election in Istanbul, both the ruling and opposition parties had objected to the election results both at district and provincial election boards. When the appeal process ended on 10 April 2019, it appeared that political parties and independent candidates had challenged election results in 25 provinces in total.
Ruling AK Party submitted an extraordinary appeal to the YSK with a 44-page document for a re-run of Istanbul elections on 16 April 2019, citing discrepancies between reports from polling stations and vote counts and improperly appointed ballot box committees.
Ali İhsan Yavuz, the vice chair of AK Party, in his Twitter account, published a chart which shows the list of 134,351 public officials given by the civil administration, as per articles 22 and 23 of law number 298, to the election boards. While the boards were required to appoint 62,500 from the list of public officials to oversee voting at some polling stations, they, however, unlawfully appointed 19,742 people who were not the list.
On 6 May 2019, The YSK accepted AK Party’s objection to annul the election of the Istanbul Municipality by seven vote to four and also decided to file a criminal complaint against the chairman and members of the district election council, election managers and other persons responsible for appointing polling staffs unlawfully.