Yalova mayoralty changes hands after CHP’s demand for vote recount
CHP Deputy Head Muharrem İnce speaks to reporters in front of Yalova's courthouse after filing an objection to the poll results in the city. DHA Photo
The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has announced that Yalova mayoralty on the southern coast of the Marmara Sea has changed hands after a recount following a tight electoral race on March 30.
The first official results gave the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) Yakup Koçal victory over the CHP’s Vefa Salman by a single vote. However, the mayoralty changed hands after the recount, which found that Salman had obtained six more votes than his main rival, according to the CHP.
The results were first announced by CHP deputy head Muharrem İnce.
“This is the result of belief, resistance and claiming our votes. The official document is in my hands. Vefa Salman has been elected Yalova mayor. The AKP has made all its objections, but those did not change the results,” İnce said via Twitter early April 2.
But Koçal has accused İnce of trying to “mislead” the public. “There have been mistakes at two ballot boxes, but mistakes have also been made to the detriment of the AKP,” Koçal said. He also claimed that in two ballot boxes his votes had been counted for the Great Unity Party (BBP), which was the column next to the AKP, adding that their objection were still being processed.
The CHP has filed objections to the results in many other cities amid vote-rigging allegations, including Ankara, where huge crowds staged a protest April 1 in front of the Supreme Electoral Board (YSK). The opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) has asked for the recount of votes in the provinces of Iğdır, Kastamonu and Kütahya.
Both CHP and AKP ask for rerun of elections
Meanwhile in Adana, where the MHP’s candidate Hüseyin Sözlü narrowly won the polls, both candidates of the arch-foes AKP and CHP organized a common press statement announcing that they would jointly demand the reorganization of the elections due to a violation of electoral regulations.
“In the Seyhan district, the registering of the election results was halted at 3 a.m., while it should have proceeded without interruption. Also in Seyhan, only three or fewer people monitored ballot boxes while it should have been four people. All this requires the annulment of the polls in that region,” CHP candidate Yıldıray Arıkan said.
The AKP’s Abdullah Torun, who came in second place, said some of their objections that had been filed at the district electoral boards had been accepted. “We first asked for the recount of votes, but if the public is not satisfied, all conditions for a rerun of the elections are available.
AKP gets Muğla’s Köyceğiz on recount
The AKP, meanwhile, has won Muğla’s Köyceğiz district in a recount, after the first results indicated that the CHP candidate had won by five votes.
AKP candidate Mustafa Özkaya said they decided to ask for a recount after seeing that most of the invalidated ballot papers had been AKP votes.
Votes were also recounted in Istanbul’s Kartal district after an objection by the AKP, only to consolidate the CHP’s victory in the Anatolian-side neighborhood.
The recount by the district election board of 13,000 invalid votes gave 400 supplementary votes to the CHP.
The CHP’s Istanbul candidate, Mustafa Sarıgül, had demanded on April 1 a recount of the votes everywhere in the city despite the considerable gap between himself and winner Kadir Topbaş to ensure “a better acceptance of the results.”
“Let’s recount the votes in all districts so that Istanbul can accept the results with tranquility. Because, unfortunately, these polls will be remembered as dubious elections,” Sarıgül said, referring to the countless allegations of fraud and suspicion raised by blackouts across the country.