Kemal Kilicdaroglu, chairman of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), labeled seven of the 11 judges of YSK, who, as a majority, decided on the re-run of Istanbul Mayoral Elections, a “mob,” for annulling the victory of Ekrem Imamoglu as the elected mayor of Istanbul.
The Supreme Election Council (YSK) on Monday ruled in favor of the Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) request for the annulment of the Istanbul mayoral elections and set June 23 as the day for the re-run.
During a speech at his party’s parliamentary group meeting on Tuesday, CHP leader vowed to re-win the election in the June re-run.
“Since you want to re-run the elections so badly, and I’m saying this to the mob in YSK, do so as much as you want. We will emerge victorious every time,” Kilicdaroglu said.
In reference to AKP’s alleged pressure on the YSK judges, the CHP leader added: “There are perpetrators and abettors of this murder [of democratic values]. The members of both groups are obvious.”
Referring to an inconsistency in YSK’s ruling, Kilicdaroglu argued that one has to re-run the elections in all 39 districts of Istanbul if there are any voting irregularities in some ballot boxes.
“Why is the ruling just for the mayoral election? The [problematical] ballot boxes are the same [with those used for other elections in Istanbul],” he stated. CHP announced on Tuesday that it will submit an appeal to YSK demanding the cancelation of all elections that took place in Istanbul, including those where people voted for district mayors and mukhtars.
“From now on, Ekrem Imamoglu is not only the candidate of the CHP but of all 16 million Istanbulites. You’ll see, the conscientious people of Istanbul will rewrite history on June 23,” CHP leader said, ending his statement with the slogan of Imamoglu: “Everything will be fine.”
Other Turkish opposition leaders also have spoken out against the high election board’s decision to annul and repeat mayoral elections in Istanbul, announcing their plan to contest the re-run despite calls for a boycott.
Meral Aksener, leader of the Good Party (IP), also condemned the decision of the top election body, saying that she is ashamed on behalf of the judges who gave rulings in accordance with AKP government’s instructions.
“Aren’t you aware that you make Turkey look like a banana republic with this blow to democracy?” Aksener questioned.
Holding forth that freedom of thought, belief and enterprise are three unchanging objectives of Turkish politics, the IP leader added: “We will definitely establish the rule of law [in Turkey].”
Co-leader of the pro-Kurdish opposition People’s Democratic Party (HDP), Sezai Temelli, accused YSK on Tuesday of becoming a notary for the People’s Alliance, which was formed by AKP and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).
During his party’s group meeting, Temelli said: “This is not just about ballot boxes or election results anymore. This is about fighting for democracy.”
Temel Karamollaoglu, the chairman of the Islamist Felicity Party (SP) defined the controversial YSK decision as “the killing of law.”
Urging voters in Istanbul to act with a conscience during the re-run, SP leader said: “This country belongs to all of us, not just to the ruling power.”
During the March 31 local elections, main opposition secular CHP formed the Nation Alliance with nationalist IP and Islamist SP to challenge the AKP-MHP bloc, which formed the People’s Alliance during the presidential election in 2018.
In his speech following the ruling, Imamoglu vowed to “win back our rights with a smile on our face,” as he removed his jacket and rolled up his sleeves. When he said “everything will be fine,” with what seems like a newfound verve of the Turkish opposition, it trended worldwide on Twitter.
Critics claim that in case of a legitimate re-run in June, the odds are in favor of Imamoglu, who has looked and sounded more and more like a mayor over the past few weeks.