Turkey election body slams 'unacceptable' criticism over Istanbul vote re-run

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Istanbul (AFP)

Turkey's top election body on Wednesday lashed out at the "unacceptable" criticism of a controversial decision to re-run the Istanbul mayoral vote, won initially by the opposition, the state-run news agency reported.

"It is unacceptable to personally target and discredit the judges because of the decision they made," the Supreme Election Council (YSK) was quoted as saying by the Anadolu news agency.

The board "will continue to do its duty despite pressure, slander, insult and threats," it added.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) narrowly lost Turkey's biggest city in March 31 local elections and complained of voting "irregularities".

The electoral body accepted the complaints and seven of its members voted this week to cancel the opposition's victory and replay the election in June.

Four members of the body voted against the move.

Opposition chief Kemal Kilicdaroglu of the Republican People's Party (CHP) on Tuesday blasted the seven members of the board as "gang members" under Erdogan's influence.

Opposition party candidate Ekrem Imamoglu who won the vote was stripped of his mayoral office following the controversial decision.

Turkey's Western allies have also voiced concern.

The United States said a "healthy democracy" with transparent elections is in Turkey's own interest and Germany said the decision to annul the election was "not transparent, and incomprehensible to us".

The CHP on Wednesday appealed to the top electoral body for the cancellation of the results for local districts in the city, where Erdogan's party won a majority.