Erdogan’s party wants rerun of Istanbul election

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling party said on Tuesday it wants the Istanbul mayoral election to be repeated after the Supreme Electoral Council rejected a demand for a recount of all ballots cast in the city.

The AKP had appealed after results showed its Istanbul candidate narrowly lost in last week’s local election in what would be a major setback for the party after a decade and a half in power.

“We will take the path of extraordinary appeal… We will say that we want the election in Istanbul to be repeated,” the AKP’s deputy chairman Ali Ihsan Yavuz told reporters in Ankara.

Electoral authorities would have to decide whether the AKP has a case for a rerun of the Istanbul ballot after a very tight race for the city’s mayor.

Former prime minister Binali Yildirim was the AKP’s candidate against the main opposition CHP’s Ekrem Imamoglu, an ex-mayor of one of Istanbul’s districts.

Imamoglu beat Yildirim by around 28,000 votes according to the Supreme Electoral Council (YSK) last week but after a recount of nulled votes, the difference between them narrowed.

The AKP earlier Tuesday said the difference between Imamoglu and Yildirim was now 14,604 ballots, while the latest number from the CHP was at 14,463.

The AKP had appealed to the YSK for another recount of all Istanbul votes but this was rejected. The council ruled for only a partial recount of 51 ballot boxes in 21 districts.

“Everyone has to abide by the YSK decisions but we have the right to criticise these decisions. Really, I don’t understand the decision to recount 51 ballot boxes,” Yavuz said.

The YSK had delayed a decision on one Istanbul district, Buyukcekmece, because of an investigation into fraud claims.

Yavuz said the AKP was making an extraordinary appeal regarding Buyukcekmece “because there are different kinds of irregularities there”.

Istanbul police were investigating claims 11,186 people changed their addresses to Buyukcekmece before the local elections, DHA news agency reported earlier on Tuesday. “There has been some kind of organised goings-on everywhere in Istanbul,” Yavuz added without giving further details.