Erdogan Cries Foul in Istanbul Vote as Decision on Rerun Nears

(Bloomberg) -- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on the nation’s highest electoral body to have new municipal elections in Istanbul, where authorities are nearing a decision on his ruling party’s request for a rerun.

Election laws were clearly violated when private sector employees were widely enlisted as ballot box officials instead of civil servants, Erdogan said in a televised speech addressing leaders of Musiad, a business association close to his party.

Erdogan’s remarks on Saturday on the vote where the ruling AK Party lost the mayor’s seat to the opposition are largely in line with his recent posturing. But his latest accusations of fraud in the Istanbul race come right before Turkey’s highest electoral authority is expected to make a decision on the AKP’s earlier request for a rerun. The High Election Board of veteran judges can take up the objections to the outcome of the March 31 vote as early as Monday.

“I say it again: this is a matter of survival,” Erdogan said of the March 31 elections, citing efforts by separatist Kurdish groups to influence the outcome. “While such a matter of survival is out there, shall we keep silent about it?”

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