The EU has come down sharply on Turkey after the ruling party refused to accept defeat in the country’s mayoral elections. The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) led by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ordered a re-poll to be held on June 23 after the opposition managed a narrow victory in the just concluded elections.
Interestingly, the AKP led alliance won the elections by 51 percent nationwide but lost key mayoral seats of Ankara, Izmir, and Istanbul. Opposition leader Ekrem Imamoglu won the post of mayor in Istanbul, the seat where current President Erdogan had once been the mayor. Of the more than 8 million votes cast in the capital city, Imamoglu was declared winner by a margin of around 14,000 votes.
Several EU member states called upon Turkey to reassess its stance post the electoral process and uphold democratic principles. France warned Turkey could be moving towards a dictatorial regime if the will of the people is not paid heed to.
A representative of the ruling AKP group said the re-election has become inevitable after several irregularities have come to the fore. Those include a few unsigned result papers along with some of the electoral officials not being civil servants.