Election authority reinstates pro-Kurdish candidate as winner of mayoral election in Turkey

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The election authority has reversed the decision to remove the Kurdish winner of the mayoral race in the city of Van in eastern Turkey. Abdullah Zeydan, the candidate of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Equality and Democracy Party (DEM), has been reinstated as the mayor after his victory was initially annulled, leading to clashes.

The Supreme Election Board (YSK) overturned the decision made by the regional election commission, which had disqualified Zeydan due to a previous conviction. Zeydan had won over 55 percent of the vote in the municipal elections, but the seat was given to a candidate from the ruling AKP party.

The reversal of this decision is seen as a victory for the Turkish opposition, following the recent local elections that weakened President Erdogan and his party. Zeydan’s arrest in 2016 for criticizing the Turkish army’s actions against Kurdish fighters had sparked protests in Van, leading to numerous arrests.

Despite accusations of links to the PKK, the YSK decided to reinstate Zeydan as the mayor of Van, acknowledging the resistance of the Kurdish people. This decision comes after years of Erdogan’s government removing elected pro-Kurdish mayors from office and replacing them with state-appointed trustees.

In addition to winning in Van, the DEM party also claimed mayorships in other Kurdish-majority towns in the southeast of Turkey. The reinstatement of Zeydan was welcomed by Istanbul’s re-elected mayor, Ekrem Imamoglu, who condemned the initial decision as a “total aberration” and criticized the double standards in play.

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