Turkey’s election board removes 13 election officials, citing irregularities

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ANKARA, TURKEY - APRIL 27: The President of Supreme Electoral Council of Turkey (YSK), Sadi Guven speaks during a press conference in Ankara, Turkey on April 27, 2017. Election board announces official results of Turkey’s constitutional referendum. The "yes" side received 25,157,463 million votes in the April 16 referendum, while the "no" votes received 23,779,141 million. Abdulhamid Hosbas / Anadolu Agency

Turkey’s Supreme Election Board (YSK) has removed from their posts and launched an investigation into 13 election officials over their alleged responsibility for irregularities detected in the İstanbul municipal election in late March, the Hürriyet Daily News reported.

The move came less than three weeks before İstanbul’s re-run elections on June 23.

“Thirteen chairmen of polling stations [in Istanbul] have been assigned to other cities due to irregularities in choosing polling station officials,” Sadi Güven, the head of the YSK, said in a written statement late Wednesday.

He also announced that a disciplinary investigation had been launched and that criminal complaints had been filed against these officials.

Güven’s statements followed strong reactions from political parties after a decision by the YSK ruled out any action against the provincial heads of the YSK in İstanbul, where irregularities have been alleged.

The YSK had canceled the results of the İstanbul mayoral election on the grounds that scores of irregularities had been detected in the composition of polling station officials and ruled for a re-run of the polls on June 23.

Republican People’s Party (CHP) İstanbul candidate Ekrem İmamoğlu had slammed the YSK’s initial decision on not taking any action against the provincial chairmen, saying: “By making this decision, they have declared openly that the justification they cited [for canceling the Istanbul results] has no meaning at all. Our democracy has sustained a major blow.”

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