Defeated mayoral hopeful slams Turkish election body

CHP candidate Mansur Yavas hits out over alleged irregularities

CHP candidate Mansur Yavas hits out over alleged irregularities

ANKARA – A Turkish opposition party candidate who narrowly lost a bid to become mayor of country’s capital, Ankara, has called on the electoral authorities to resign.

Mansur Yavas, Ankara mayoral candidate for the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), called on Thursday for the national Supreme Electoral Board to resign, blaming it for alleged mistakes and irregularities made in counting votes in the March 30 local elections.

Yavas lost his mayoral bid for capital Ankara to incumbent mayor and ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party candidate Melih Gokcek. Gokcek retained control of the Turkish capital after obtaining around 44.74 percent of the vote; Yavas followed him closely with 43.81 percent.

"I urge the resignation of the board of election because of the mistakes in poll registers, in 6,240 ballot boxes out of all 12,334," Yavas told a press conference in his party's election co-ordinaton center in Ankara.

Yavas also claimed that almost 3,000 official voting records were left unsealed but were still counted and considered valid by the electoral body.

The CHP candidate accused the electoral board of being at the center of all the complaints and objections filed by individuals and parties alike, also accusing it of not providing the required training for election officials.

On Wednesday, the Supreme Electoral Board unanimously rejected a second appeal from his CHP party for a recount. The party had filed a petition of objection to the board on Sunday seeking to void the mayoral election result.

Yavas said they would appeal to Turkey’s Constitutional Court within a week in order to "reveal, if any, unlawful acts or mistakes so that we can hold the next elections with our minds at peace".

He said that his party is only seeking to ensure that the election result reflects the real will of Ankara voters rather than "fighting for the seat".

Yavas also said they could further appeal to the European Court of Human Rights, if necessary, to clear doubts over election results.

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