Apr 16 2019

Ruling party demands new recount in Istanbul district

More than two weeks since the March 31 local election, Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has requested another recount in Istanbul’s Maltepe district in a move that could further delay the opposition candidate from receiving his certificate of authorisation.

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) candidate Ekrem İmamoğlu led the contest for Istanbul by over 27,000 votes by first count, and was still leading by around 13,000 votes on Tuesday after weeks of appeals for recounts of invalidated votes by the AKP.

İmamoğlu should receive his certificate of authorisation as soon as the recount process ends, but the AKP on Tuesday submitted an “extraordinary appeal” to the Supreme Election Council (YSK), asking for the election to be annulled and repeated on June 2.

Barış Yarkadaş, a CHP deputy for Istanbul, tweeted on Tuesday evening that the AKP has also requested a fresh recount of invalidated votes from 40 ballot boxes in Maltepe.

The request, which covers a number of votes that cannot influence the results of the election, has been interpreted as a move to prevent İmamoğlu from receiving his certificate of authorisation before the YSK decides on whether to annul the election.

It is the latest in a series of incidents that have caused repeated delays to the count in the district.

Last Friday a group of AKP supporters started a scuffle in the hall in Maltepe where the recount is taking place after the local electoral board demanded a faster count. The police intervened, delaying the count until the next morning.

On Monday AKP officials refused to sign the recount reports for hundreds of boxes, forcing the votes to be recounted again.

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