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Turkey’s ruling party demands recount in Istanbul mayor election

It comes after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s allies lost control of Ankara and appeared to be defeated in Istanbul.

A woman, backdropped by the Suleymaniye mosque, buys simit, a pretzel-like snack, in Istanbul (Lefteris Pitarakis/AP)
A woman, backdropped by the Suleymaniye mosque, buys simit, a pretzel-like snack, in Istanbul (Lefteris Pitarakis/AP)

Turkey’s ruling party has said it will appeal to the country’s top election authority, demanding a full recount of votes cast in Istanbul in the March 31 mayoral election.

Ali Ihsan Yavuz, deputy chairman of the ruling AKP party, spoke on Sunday as a recount of votes that were previously deemed invalid was continuing in several Istanbul districts.

In a major upset to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the opposition took control of Ankara, the capital, and won a tight race for Istanbul in the country’s local elections.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (AP)

Mr Erdogan’s party is contesting some results, claiming that the elections were “tainted”.

Mr Yavuz said the party is seeking a total recount of votes in 38 districts in Istanbul, not just of ballot papers that were cancelled.

He said the opposition party candidate’s lead has narrowed to 16,442 votes as a result of the partial recount.

The opposition Republican People’s Party maintains that it looks increasingly unlikely that the invalidated ballots will swing the result in Istanbul in favour of the ruling party.

Ekrem Imamoglu, the opposition party candidate, urged the AKP to concede.

“I understand that it is not easy to lose (Istanbul) after ruling it for 25 years, but this is what democracy is about,” Mr Imamoglu said.

Ekrem Imamoglu, the opposition, Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) mayoral candidate in Istanbul, believes he has won the race for the mayoralty (Lefteris Pitarakis/AP)

“It’s not the end of the world.”

Mr Imamoglu also asked the Supreme Electoral Board to assume its “historic duty” and avoid decisions that would lead to suspicions of “double standards” in favour of Mr Erdogan’s party.

Mr Yavuz insisted on Sunday that the elections were marred by “organised irregularities”.

The electoral authority is expected to rule on the request for a full recount in the coming days before confirming the final results of the elections at the end of the week.



From Belfast Telegraph