Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has said that his party will not appeal Parliamentary Speaker Binali Yıldırım’s nomination as Istanbul mayor candidate to the Supreme Election Board (YSK), as they not have “trust” in the election body.
“We do not trust YSK. How can we even apply to it? YSK has become pro-government. It does not make any decisions in accordance with the law. It cannot because it lacks the power. The power is at the [Presidential] palace,” Kılıçdaroğlu told reporters on Jan. 12 at the headquarters of his party, referring to Yıldırım’s comment that anyone having a problem with his nomination should “apply to the YSK.”
“What can be said to an institution that does not recognize law and universal law? [Yıldırım] does not believe that he can win. If he did, he would have resigned [from his current post as parliamentary speaker] and said ‘I’ll win this city [Istanbul]’,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.
Asked about Yıldırım’s comment that “elections are not political activities,” Kılıçdaroğlu said: “I would like to leave this comment to [the Turkish satirical website of] Zaytung. What are elections other than being political activities for God’s sake?”
The CHP has been calling for Yıldırım’s resignation as parliamentary speaker, saying his nomination to run for mayor of Istanbul breaches the constitution as it obligates the speaker of the parliament to remain impartial.
The CHP leader also said that he had a problem with the YSK acting as the highest legal authority on electoral matters in the country, as there is no other institution to which one can apply in case of an objection.
“Let’s say an election is held in which two parties participated. And let’s say one party received 30 percent and the other received 70 percent of the votes. And the YSK decided that the party which received 30 percent of the votes has won the election. There is no place to appeal [regarding the YSK’s decision],” said Kılıçdaroğlu.
Kılıçdaroğlu also touched upon the criticisms his party received in the last general elections that they “did not protect [the security of] the ballot boxes sufficiently.”
“For the first time in the history of the republic, a political party [the CHP] provided 96 percent of the wet-ink signature reports. Where could we not provide? In [the southeastern province of] Şanlıurfa and in some parts of [the eastern province of] Erzurum, members of parties were not let in. Now, in this [March 31] election, there will be much more observers at the polls,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.
“No other party, including the [ruling Justice and Development Party] AKP, has our digital infrastructure…We are working harder than the YSK, but we cannot escape criticisms,” he said.
Kılıçdaroğlu also stated that alliance talks with İYİ (Good) Party are still ongoing and a close contact with Saadet (Felicity) Party is still intact. “We will announce the [remaining] candidates as soon as possible after we determine them,” he said.
The CHP and İYİ Party have agreed to cooperate in several municipalities for the upcoming local elections. For example, İYİ Party previously announced it would support the CHP’s candidates in the country’s two largest provinces, Istanbul and Ankara.
The CHP has nominated Ekrem İmamoğlu, the mayor of Istanbul’s Beylikdüzü district, to run for Istanbul province, while announcing Mansur Yavaş, a former CHP mayoral candidate for 2014 elections, to run for Ankara.
Regarding İmamoğolu’s recent visit to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Kılıçdaroğluexpressed that the visit is understandable.
“[İmamoğlu] announced that he will visit all former mayors of Istanbul. Erdoğan was a mayor too, so he paid a visit to him as well. No discrimination should be made,” he said.