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Top election authority overturns annulment of pro-Kurdish party candidate’s election victory

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Turkey’s  Supreme Election Council (YSK) on Wednesday approved an appeal made by the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Equality and Democracy Party (DEM Party) against a decision that annulled the victory of its mayoral candidate in Sunday’s elections.

The local election authority’s decision had originally revoked the election victory of Abdullah Zeydan, the DEM Party’s candidate for mayor of the eastern city of Van.

He had garnered over 55 percent of the vote, but the regional electoral commission said he was ineligible to stand for election, handing city hall to a candidate from President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) who received only 27 percent of the vote.

With the approval of the appeal, the mayorship will now be given to Zeydan.

The YSK handled the appeal during its meeting on Wednesday and decided in favor of Zeydan, with seven members voting for and 4 against. This decision is final as the YSK’s decisions are final and not subject to appeal.

Zeydan, who had been elected on the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) (now DEM) ticket in 2015, was arrested in 2016 after criticizing the Turkish army’s air campaign against outlawed Kurdish militants in the Kurdish-majority southeast.

Protests against his ouster lasted for two days in Van province, which sits on Turkey’s eastern border with Iran, as well as other provinces in Turkey.

Large crowds gathered in Van, İstanbul, and Diyarbakır on Wednesday despite a ban on public gatherings to express their opposition to the annulment of the election results and to reaffirm the validity of the election.

Police intervened in the gathering of DEM Party officials along with deputies from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Workers’ Party of Turkey (TİP), whose march was met with police barricades and in some cases tear gas and water cannons to disperse the crowd.

The interior ministry reported the detention of 89 people for unauthorized protests and expressions of support for the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is classified as a terrorist organization by Turkey and its Western allies.

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