Power blackouts mar counting votes
ESKİŞEHİR - ISTANBUL
The main opposition Republican People Party (CHP) officials have voiced concern over widespread blackouts throughout Turkey as counting ballots for the March 30 local elections continues.
Eskişehir Mayor Yılmaz Büyükerşen, a CHP member, has said there are power outages in nine neighborhoods in the city center, as well as the main courthouse. “15 percent of votes have been counted and we lead with 52.07 percent, while the [ruling Justice and Development Party] AKP candidate is at 35 percent. The company that supplies the city power has not returned our queries regarding the blackout. There are several uncounted ballots that cannot be registered now,” he said.
Linking the power blackout with fraud, Büyükerşen continued: “In Salih Zeki High School in Gültepe district, a person was caught while trying to steal a bag full of votes. This person is being kept in a room now and lawyers are doing what’s necessary. The people revolted, everybody is on their balconies, protesting the situation by making noise with their pots and pans.”
While the CHP’s Istanbul chair Oğuzhan Salıcı has complained about the unusual power blackouts in Istanbul districts like Bakırköy, İhlas news agency has reported that the votes have been counted under candle -and cellphone- light in the southeastern city Gaziantep.
Energy Minister Yıldız denies any wrongdoing
Energy and Natural Resources Minister Taner Yıldız denied any wrongdoing. Yıldız spoke in the Central Anatolian province of Kayseri after the voting was completed, saying: "Especially in the eastern Mediterranean cities of Mersin, Adana and Gaziantep, there was a storm with winds reaching 75 km/h. On the other hand, there was heavy snow in eastern Anatolian cities like Erzurum and Ardahan. These weather conditions caused some local power outages which didn't affect the vote counting."
Yıldız failed to address complaints about power outages in western cities like Eskişehir and Istanbul, where the weather conditions were better.