Last Update 23:16
Sunday, 20 October 2019

Erdogan's party to demand total recount of Istanbul ballots

Sunday 7 Apr 2019
Views: 1323
Views: 1323

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's party said Sunday it was demanding a recount of all ballots cast in Istanbul, the country's economic capital, during last week's mayoral election after an opposition candidate claimed a slender win.

The vice-president of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) Ali Ihsan Yavuz made the demand for a recount going beyond one already under way.

The AKP won most votes nationwide in last Sunday's election, but results showed the ruling party lost Ankara and was also narrowly defeated in Istanbul in what would be one of their worst setbacks in a decade and a half in power.

"Today, we are going to take our case to the provincial branch of the YSK (supreme election board) to recount all the votes from all the (Istanbul) districts," said AKP vice-president Ali Ihsan Yavuz.

Electoral authorities are already conducting a recount in scores of districts in Ankara and in Istanbul, where tallies showed the opposition CHP candidate Ekrem Imamoglu just edged out the AKP, represented by political heavyweight and former prime minister Binali Yildirim.

On Saturday, party spokesman Omer Celik insisted the AKP would accept recount results in Istanbul as well as Ankara, no matter which party is declared the winner.

Losing Istanbul, home to around one in five Turks, would be a blow to Erdogan, who built his political career as mayor of the city before becoming prime minister and later president.

Most of the ballots currently being recounted are those which were listed as void in the March 31 poll.

"Organised Abuse" 

Yavuz offered a trenchant criticism of the count, complaining of "flagrant irregularities" and "organised abuse -- something going beyond simple individual error."

Pro-government media had already taken up that theme in recent days, denouncing what they termed a "ballot box putsch" and a "plot."

Analysts put the AKP's poor showing in Istanbul and Ankara primarily down to the poor health of the economy as Turkey endures its first recession in a decade, 20 percent inflation, a slump in the value of the lira and joblessness of 13.5 percent.

Ekrem Imamoglu, candidate for the main opposition social democratic CHP, topped the ballot with support of other anti-Erdogan factions.

Imamoglu's margin was some 25,000 votes but Yavuz said that following a recount of 78 percent of void ballots it had shrunk to less than 16,500. Both candidates received more than four million votes.

'Historic Responsibility' 

Imamoglu, now styling himself as mayor, accuses the AKP of trying to play for time with its demands to revisit the results as a means of ensuring the spotlight is not turned in its stewardship of the municipal budget amid allegations that AKP supporters benefit from cash funnelled via charitable foundations.

Imamoglu urged the electoral board on Sunday to remember that "you have a historic responsability -- 82 million Turks have their eyes fixed on you. Take the right decision, the one which will reassure" voters.

AKP spokesman Celik rejected what he termed such "hollow conjectures" and said appealing results was "natural."

After Yavuz's revelation that the party was calling for all the Istanbul districts to be recounted, CHP official Mahmut Tanal tweeted that "by multiplying their appeals ... the AKP is wasting time and energy and the time of Istanbul inhabitants."

While the provincial election board probes Istanbul and Ankara's poll outcome, further appeals could follow across the board.

Many opposition groups do not believe in the statutory neutrality of electoral authorities - and have pointed, for example, that none of several appeals by the pro-Kurdish HDP party following the election was successful.

Short link:


Ahram Online welcomes readers' comments on all issues covered by the site, along with any criticisms and/or corrections. Readers are asked to limit their feedback to a maximum of 1000 characters (roughly 200 words). All comments/criticisms will, however, be subject to the following code
  • We will not publish comments which contain rude or abusive language, libelous statements, slander and personal attacks against any person/s.
  • We will not publish comments which contain racist remarks or any kind of racial or religious incitement against any group of people, in Egypt or outside it.
  • We welcome criticism of our reports and articles but we will not publish personal attacks, slander or fabrications directed against our reporters and contributing writers.
  • We reserve the right to correct, when at all possible, obvious errors in spelling and grammar. However, due to time and staffing constraints such corrections will not be made across the board or on a regular basis.

© 2010 Ahram Online.