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MHP leader says new mayoral election could be held in İstanbul to relieve ‘public tension’

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The leader of Turkey’s Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) has said a new mayoral election could be held in İstanbul to end ongoing controversies over the March 31 polls and ease “tension” among the public.

The MHP is the election ally of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). The AKP has been objecting to the election results in places such as İstanbul won by the opposition candidates.

Speaking at a party meeting on Tuesday, Bahçeli said: “In such a process, it is not right to do things hastily and drag İstanbul into a disputable position whoever receives the mandate to rule the city. … If Turkey is moving towards chaos, the way to rid Turkey of mistakes that could lead the country into a state of unrest should be sought in democracy. If the election results are causing tension among the public, a new election could be considered.”

Ekrem İmamoğlu, from the ranks of the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), won the local election in İstanbul against his rival Binali Yıldırım, a former prime minister fielded by the AKP, according to unofficial election results.

Although Turkey’s Supreme Election Board (YSK) announced on the night of March 31 that İmamoğlu received more votes than Yıldırım, he has not yet been declared the winner due to objections from the AKP to the election results in İstanbul.

In a similar statement on Tuesday, a top AKP official said his party would demand a new mayoral election in İstanbul and file an extraordinary objection with the country’s election authority.

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