Saudi Arab News: Erdogan local elections in Turkey to farce

In an article written by former politician Yashar Yakish, Saudi Arabia's English-language newspaper said three weeks after the end of the Turkish municipal elections on March 31, the official vote count is still incomplete and is on its way to become trivial and ridiculous.

Yakish notes that, according to the inconclusive results available to date at the ballot boxes, the main opposition Republican Peoples' Party is leading the Istanbul elections, although the ruling Justice and Development Party is doing its best to reverse this trend.

Yakish recalls that shortly before midnight in Istanbul, when 98.8 per cent of Istanbul's votes were counted, broadcasting the results of the city was interrupted without any explanation from the pro-government media outlets.

In the second week after the polls, counting invalid votes became the main issue, delaying the counting of valid votes for more than 14 days after the elections.

The country's Supreme Electoral Council ignored the Republican Peoples Party's proposal to create additional teams to speed up the counting process.

While the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has filed new requests for irregularities in the Buyuk Shakmja area of Istanbul, Yakish points out that such a problem, if real, should have been resolved during the pre-elections verification period, not after it has been clear that the AKP is lagging behind the competitors in that area.

Another problem is that some mayors who won their local elections were prevented from resuming their functions on the ground that they had been evicted from the public service in advance by decrees implemented after the alleged coup d'état attempt in July 2016. Their posts were filled by candidates who received the second highest number of votes.

Following the local elections, the AKP's request to recount votes in the constituency was accepted without any request to prove misconduct or errors, despite a similar request was applied by Mansur Yavas, who was nominated for mayor of Ankara in 2014 as his request was rejected for lack of factual evidence.

Since the Republican Peoples' Party's Imam Oglu is still in the foremost with about 14,000 votes, the AKP is not sure whether it should demand new elections either in Istanbul or across the country, Yakish wrote.

Yakish highlighted the conspiracy's theories that the AKP may try to waste time before handing over the urban municipality of Istanbul to the Republican Peoples' Party to cleanse municipal coffers and spend money for private companies working in the commercial works with the municipality.

Another report alleges that the Justice and Development Party (AKP) is trying to keep the Elections Council distracted by several sorts while destroying documents that criminalize Erdogan's party.

"Regardless of logic, Turkey and its people deserve better than this dark comedy," Yakish concluded.



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