Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's political party has succeeded in its bidto nullify the results of Istanbul's March 31 elections and hold a redo after the political opposition won by a slim margin, a move criticized as an attack on democracy.
According to the Turkish electoral body, the election will be re-run in Istanbul on June 23, 2019.
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says he believes lawlessness and irregularities occurred in Istanbul mayoral elections.
The Turkish lira tumbled against the USA dollar after the election decision, bringing its losses this year to 14 per cent as investors fretted about political uncertainty and business leaders criticised the move. "This system that overrules the will of the people and disregards the law is neither democratic, nor legitimate".
The opposition CHP's victorious mayoral candidate said it was "treacherous".
He insisted there was "illegality" in the vote and said a re-run would represent "an important step to strengthen our democracy".
The council members accepted the AK Party's objection to the local election results in Istanbul with seven votes in favour and four against.
At pre-election rallies, the president had repeatedly told crowds, "Whoever wins Istanbul, wins Turkey" and "Whoever loses Istanbul, loses Turkey".
"The decision of the High Election Board to annul the local election in Istanbul and order a re-run is in our view not transparent and not comprehensible", Mr Maas said.
Markar Esayan, an AK Party MP from Istanbul, said the board made the right decision as his party discovered "organised irregularities" at many ballot boxes in Istanbul.
"Under such leadership, accession talks are impossible", Verhofstadt said, referring to Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Turkey's European Union accession talks, which have been on hold since 2016 anyway. "This country is filled with 82 million patriots who will fight. until the last moment for democracy". Addressing his voters, he invited them to keep "hope alive", because "you will see: we will all win together".
"As we stated before the election results in the March 31 elections, we should focus on a comprehensive economic and democratic reform agenda", TUSIAD said on Twitter. "The will of nearly 15,000 people who had voted for Akp had been ignored".
The loss of the mayorship in Istanbul, and a more resounding defeat in the capital Ankara, reflected widespread concern over the deteriorating economy.
Imamoglu had won in Istanbul with less than 13 thousand reject votes, against a megalopolis of about 15 million inhabitants.
The lira already lost a third of its value over the past year, making it the second worst performing currency in the world after the Argentinian peso.