Ambiguity prevails in Ankara’s election results
CHP's Mansur Yavaş announced the end of the 'Gökçek era in Ankara' in a press conference at 4:30 a.m. AA PhotoOnly two hours after the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) candidate for Ankara gave a balcony speech to his supporters early in the morning on March 31, in a declaration of victory for the second time within hours, the incumbent mayor of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), for his part, also declared victory for the second time.
According to figures provided by the Cihan news agency as of 10:30 a.m. local time, 12,138 ballot boxes out of a total of 12,234 boxes were counted and the AKP’s Melih Gökçek, the incumbent mayor, received 44.68 percent of the votes in Ankara in local elections held on March 30, while the CHP’s Mansur Yavaş received 43.83 percent of the total votes.
But the CHP has announced that it will appeal the results in Ankara. "We will file our objection today, I think it will affect the result," CHP Deputy Head Bülent Tezcan said March 31.
Still, it was Yavaş who held a press conference at 4:30 a.m. and announced the “Gökçek era in Ankara” had come to an end.
“At the moment, we are ahead by 22,507 votes,” Yavaş said, while, however, also noting there were still attempts of interference in several districts, such as the Kabala neighborhood in the Keçiören district; Karayolları in the Çankaya district and in the Yenimahalle district.
“They shall learn to lose as well; they shall respect the ballot box and the will [of the people]. We will not be giving what we gained at the ballot boxes [to the AKP] at the table. We are gradually winning Ankara,” Yavaş said. “When the time comes, we will deliver a balcony speech, too.”
At 6:30 a.m., Gökçek took the floor and held a press conference where he declared a certain victory, having been at least 30,000 votes ahead of the CHP candidate.
“According to our calculations, we have received 44.7 percent and the CHP 43.8 percent. This is the result of counting, 99.5 percent of which has been finalized,” Gökçek said.
There are reportedly noteworthy differences between the figures provided in the records of the ballot boxes in a considerable number of electoral districts and the figures being recorded on the Supreme Election Board (YSK), Turkish daily newspaper Cumhuriyet, meanwhile, said in a report posted on its webpage on March 31.
Within a few hours after Gökçek held his press conference, Yavaş briefly announced they would be contesting the results.
“We will check the numbers; we will seek our right. We will chase even a single vote,” Yavaş told reporters, when asked whether they would object to the results, as he was leaving the CHP’s Election Coordination Center.
According to the report by Cumhuriyet, in the early morning, Yavaş urged party officials to be on alert with regard to a re-counting for the 170 ballot boxes in Kabala, Keçiören.
Troubles were reported at the ballot boxes in a high school in the Seyranbağları neighborhood of Çankaya as well, Cumhuriyet said. AKP members reportedly interfered with the counting process and carried new ballots in bags to the high school, the daily said.
Trouble in three largest districts
Central Çankaya, a stronghold of the CHP, is the largest district. Keçiören is assumed as a key conservative/right-wing district and it is the second largest district where the AKP won the municipality in the 2009 local elections.
Yenimahalle is the third largest district. The AKP won the Yenimahalle Municipality in the 2004 local elections and the CHP won it in the 2009 local elections.
With the Metropolitan Municipalities Law, which was approved in November 2012 and restructured municipalities through the change of borders, some neighborhoods in Yenimahalle are now within the Çankaya Municipality electoral district held by the CHP and some are now within the Etimesgut Municipality electoral district being held by the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).
At the time, the CHP said the Metropolitan Municipalities Law changed the electoral districts of 45,000 voters. It argued the AKP was in a bid to win Yenimahalle, which it was unable to do through the ballot boxes, by dividing votes instead.