Erdoğan points to high election board for results

Erdoğan points to high election board for results

ANKARA
Erdoğan points to high election board for results

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said his party would take the March 31 local election appeals to the highest court, the Supreme Election Board (YSK).

Speaking after Friday prayers in Istanbul, Erdoğan said the elections were over but the legal process was ongoing due to his ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) objections to the vote counts.

“If the results of the provincial [electoral councils] don’t overlap with ours, then the YSK is the final decision-maker for us,” he said on April 5. 

“It is our right to apply to it,” he added.

The AKP has appealed to have the votes in Istanbul and Ankara, both of which it has lost to the opposition according to initial YSK results, recounted, citing irregularities in vote counting and registering.

Erdoğan said even if the opposition’s mayors emerged as the winners, they would have a difficult time carrying out their service because the majority of the municipality assemblies are members of the AKP.

He also slammed the United States and European countries, accusing them of meddling in Turkey’s internal affairs and saying Turkey’s high voter turnout was a “democracy lesson” to the world.

The AKP is currently challenging the election results in Istanbul, Ankara, and Yalova.  The Istanbul branch of the election board has rejected a bid by Turkey’s ruling AK Party to annul the local election in the city’s Büyükçekmece district.

AKP deputy chair Ali Ihsan Yavuz said that the party only applied for the annulment of local elections in Istanbul’s Büyükçekmece district, not in the whole province. But the provincial election board rejected the bid.  The AKP has not applied to the YSK on this case, said Yavuz adding that the party “has yet to decide whether to go to the YSK”.

According to the AKP Büyükçekmece district organization’s petition reported by Demirören News Agency, the party alleged that 21,000 fake voters had been registered in the district during the process to update voters’ lists in the run-up to the elections.

Turkish electoral authorities allowed recounts in at least 18 Istanbul districts. The AKP says the gap in votes between the two candidates was narrowing down from nearly a 25,000-vote difference announced on April 1.

The appeal to the decisions of the district election boards ended on April 5.  The provincial election boards will settle the objections within three days until April 10. On the other hand, objections will be made to the YSK based on the decisions of the provincial elections. The appeal process will end on April 13 by law.

Turkey’s main opposition candidate in Istanbul’s municipal election Ekrem İmamoğlu said on April 5 he remained ahead of his rival after a recount of invalid votes.

İmamoğlu said he was 18,742 votes ahead of his AKP rival, ex-Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım, after a recount of invalid votes in 17 of Istanbul’s 39 districts and said that gap would not change much after the recount had ended.

“From what I see, it should end this weekend. It will fall into an 18,000-20,000 range, that’s what all the simulations show. These are very tight numbers,” he told Turkey’s private broadcaster Fox TV, adding both parties had been awarded votes in the recount. He said nearly 120,000 previously annulled votes had been recounted in 17 Istanbul districts, with 2,184 extra votes being allowed for Yıldırım, and 785 for himself.  “It should be over by the end of the weekend,” he added.

The AKP has said there are more than 300,000 invalid votes in Istanbul and just under 110,000 in Ankara. It was unclear how many districts of Istanbul - a city of 15 million people - would ultimately see recounts. The AKP has requested them in all 39 Istanbul districts and all 25 districts in Ankara, where the CHP has secured an apparently insurmountable lead of nearly 4 percentage points.

Erdoğan, AKP, ISTANBUL, local polls 2019, YSK