Turkey, Politics

Turkey: March 31 mayoral polls still in legal process

Petitions, demands, objections over elections being examined, says election authority Sadi Guven

Ahmet Sertan Usul and Faruk Zorlu   | 09.04.2019
Turkey: March 31 mayoral polls still in legal process

ANKARA 

Legal wrangling over the results of Turkey’s March 31 mayoral elections continues, with petitions and objections being examined, said the head of Turkey's election authority on Tuesday. 

Speaking to reporters, Sadi Guven, head of the Supreme Election Council (YSK), said that since the judicial process is continuing, he will not release any information on petitions, demands, and objections being currently considered.

Among the representatives of parties on the election board are the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party, Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), opposition Good (IYI) Party, and opposition Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), Guven said. 

Millions of Turkish voters cast their votes nationwide on March 31 in local elections to choose Turkey’s mayors, city council members, mukhtars (neighborhood officials), and members of elder councils for the next five years.

According to unofficial results in the Istanbul mayoral race, before any recounts, Ekrem Imamoglu, the candidate of CHP, leads with 48.79% of the vote, ahead of the AK Party’s Binali Yildirim with 48.51%.

Contesting the results, the AK Party has asked for a recount, saying the recount might change the results.

'Organized crime' at polls alleged

The AK Party on Sunday asked the election council to probe “organized crime” in the Istanbul mayoral polls late last month.

The AK Party has “detected organized crime," President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters on Monday.

Erdogan, who is also AK Party chairman, said there was not just one irregularity, but many irregularities in the local poll results.

Speaking to reporters late Monday, AK Party Deputy Chairman Ali Ihsan Yavuz said the recount of invalid votes in Istanbul’s mayoral race has netted the ruling party 5,069 votes, narrowing its gap with the main opposition from 29,000 votes to about 14,000.

The Supreme Election Council partially rejected an AK Party bid to recount all votes in Istanbul except for 51 ballot boxes in 21 districts. 

An AK Party appeal to cancel the election results in Istanbul’s Buyukcekmece district over alleged irregularities will be decided by the council on Tuesday, a party representative said later.

The residential addresses of over 11,000 people were allegedly unlawfully moved to Buyukcekmece in order to unfairly sway the elections.

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