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Erdogan hails ruling to rerun disputed Turkey mayoral race

By Clyde Hughes
A new vote in late June will determine the winner of Istanbul's mayoral race. Photo by Sedat Suna/EPA-EFE
A new vote in late June will determine the winner of Istanbul's mayoral race. Photo by Sedat Suna/EPA-EFE

May 7 (UPI) -- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan praised a decision Tuesday by election officials to rerun a mayoral race in Istanbul that saw the narrow defeat of a candidate from his party.

Ekrem Imamoglu of the Republican People's Party, or CHP, won the April vote over Erdogan's Justice and Development Party candidate Binali Yildirim. It was one of several races in large Turkish cities won by the CHP. Monday, Turkey's Supreme Election Council ruled that some election officials in Istanbul were not civil servants, as required by law, and set a new vote for June 23.

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Yıldırım will run again and Istanbul Gov. Ali Yerlikaya will act as mayor until the new vote produces a winner.

"[The ruling], which will remove the shadow over Istanbul election, [is] an important step in strengthening Turkey democracy," Erdogan told members of his party at a meeting in Ankara Tuesday.

"We sincerely believe organized corruption, utter lawlessness and irregularity occurred in the Istanbul elections."

Erdogan said the irregularities marred the Istanbul mayor's race.

"The will of nearly 15,000 people who voted for [Yildirim] has been usurped, with mistakes far greater than by any other party," Erdogan added.

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The president's party has furnished proof it says shows organized corruption and irregularities.

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