ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Istanbul’s mayoral candidates argued over the election they contested in March in a rare televised debate on Sunday, a week before a re-run vote seen as a test of Turkish democracy and the reach of President Tayyip Erdogan’s AK party.
In the first televised debate of its kind in the country in nearly two decades, AKP candidate Binali Yildirim faced the main opposition’s Ekrem Imamoglu, who won the initial vote in March but was ousted from city hall when the result was annulled in May.
Yildirim - Minister - Contest - Election - Setbacks
Yildirim, a former prime minister, narrowly lost the contest in what was one of the biggest election setbacks for Erdogan since the AKP first came to power in 2002. His party also lost control of the capital Ankara.
But in a decision last month that raised new questions over Turkey’s institutional independence, the High Election Board scheduled the re-run on June 23 after a series of AKP complaints that the initial vote was marred by irregularities.
Thing - Votes - Yildirim - March - Contest
“Strange thing happened when your votes were counted,” Yildirim said, describing the March contest. “Votes were stolen.”
“Who stole votes for God’s sake?” responded Imamoglu,...
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