ISTANBUL: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s AKP on Tuesday appealed against results in Istanbul and Ankara following a weekend election after tallies showed the ruling party lost both key cities.
Erdogan’s AKP and coalition partner won more than 50 per cent of votes nationwide in Sunday’s local ballot, but defeat in both Turkey’s capital and its economic hub would be a setback after the party’s decade and a half in power.
The AKP appeals with electoral authorities, who have two days to decide whether the claims of irregularities have merit, may signal more ruling party challenges to the surprise opposition victories.
“We have filed our objections with the electoral authorities in all 39 districts,” AKP’s Istanbul chief Bayram Senocak told reporters. “We have identified irregularities and falsifications.” He said the party had found an “excessive” difference between votes cast at ballot stations for their candidate and the data sent to electoral authorities.
Hakan Han Ozcan, AKP’s Ankara chairman, told reporters they were also filing an appeal in 25 districts of the capital. Anadolu state news agency said results showed CHP opposition candidate Mansur Yavas with 50.93 percent of votes against 47.11 percent for the AKP.
Istanbul, the largest city in the country, was a key prize for Erdogan and he had fielded former premier and loyalist Binali Yildirim as candidate for mayor.
But Istanbul was a very tight race and both Yildirim and the opposition CHP candidate Ekrem Imamoglu claimed victory in the early hours of Monday when tallies showed them in a dead heat.
Electoral authorities on Monday announced Imamoglu was ahead by 28,000 votes with nearly all ballot boxes tallied, prompting AKP officials to challenge to the result.
Published in Dawn, April 3rd, 2019