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Turkish local elections: Votes to be recounted in Istanbul

Had the other party won, I would have said 'congratulations Mr Binali Yildirim [Getty]

Date of publication: 3 April, 2019

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Turkey’s High Election Board has ordered a partial recount of votes in Istanbul after an appeal submitted by the ruling party, AKP.

A recount for seven districts in Istanbul has been ordered by Turkey’s High Election Board on Wednesda, after an initial count showed victory of the main opposition candidate.

Ekrem Imamoglu initially earned Istanbul’s mayoral election by a narrow margin, but President Tayyip Erdogan’s AK Party (AKP) appealed the results amid primary reports showing that the party was on course to lose control of both Ankara and Istanbul.

Turkey’s High Election Board’s announcement comes after the provincial election board in Istanbul had halted on Tuesday a recount requested by the AKP in seven Istanbul districts, in response to a challenge by the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), Imamoglu.

Imamoglu and his AKP rival, ex-prime minister Binali Yildirim, whose party had appealed the results, both confirmed on Monday Imamoglu was around 25,000 votes ahead.

But Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's AKP said on Monday appeals could shift the outcome in Ankara in their favour.

On Tuesday the ruling party appealed against Sunday’s elections in both Istanbul and Ankara.

Erdogan suffered remarkable setbacks in the 2019 local elections as his AKP lost control of the capital Ankara for the first time since 2001, the year when it was founded.

The results of the mayoral election, viewed as a referendum on the president’s handling of the country’s economic crisis, has complicated Erdogan’s endeavours to combat the economy’s slide into recession.

After the High Election Board’s (YSK) order, a recount will take place in the districts of Sile, Bayrampasa, Atasehir, Umraniye, Beykoz, Fatih and Gaziosmanpasa, seven of Istanbul’s 39 districts, home for 15 million people.

In Ankara, Yavas received 50.9 percent of votes in the weekend’s vote, coming ahead of his AKP rival and former minister Mehmet Ozhaseki by nearly 4 percentage points.

Istanbul’s initial results showed Imamoglu leading by 48.79 percent of the votes over Yildirim who had 48.52 percent, Anadolu state news agency reported on Tuesday, one day before High Election Board’s ruling.

Imamoglu on Tuesday travelled to Ankara to lay a wreath at the mausoleum of modern Turkey's founder Musfafa Kemal Ataturk, a symbolic gesture Erdogan often does soon after his election wins.

"Had the other party won, I would have said 'congratulations Mr Binali Yildirim’, which I do not say because I am the one who won," Imamoglu told reporters.

"They are behaving like a kid who has been deprived of his toy," he continued.

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