Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 14 December 2019

Turkey local elections: AKP to request full Istanbul vote recount

The ruling party previously requested a recount of invalid votes, but was still behind with over 70 per cent completed

AKP candidate Binali Yildirim is behind in the polls. EPA
AKP candidate Binali Yildirim is behind in the polls. EPA

Turkey's ruling party is to apply for a full recount of votes cast in Istanbul during last week's local elections.

An alliance led by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AKP) won a majority nationwide in local elections on March 31. However, they suffered a blow as they narrowly lost Mr Erdogan’s home city of Istanbul and the capital Ankara to the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP).

The AKP initially filed objections to the results and requested a recount of the votes that had been deemed invalid in Istanbul and Ankara.

With many of the invalid votes counted in Istanbul, the CHP's Ekrem Imamoglu still looked to be ahead of ex-Prime Minister Binali Yildirim by over 17,000 votes with over 70 per cent of the recount completed.

AKP Deputy Chairman Ali Ihsan Yavuz announced that the party is to request a full recount at a press conference on Sunday, saying that the party felt there was something "strange" about the figures.

On Saturday, AKP spokesman Omer Celik said the party will accept the results of a vote recount, no matter what the outcome is.

"At the end of the day, we will accept the final result regardless of whether it is to our advantage or disadvantage," said Mr Celik.

The local elections are held to appoint mayors, municipal council members, neighbourhood representatives and local administrators, but the outcome could also affect the country’s foreign policy agenda.

The results, even if not yet final, mark a significant moment of weakness for the AKP after nearly two decades of almost uncontested control.

The economy, which rapidly expanded under Mr Erdogan’s rule but is now in a recession, was one of the main concerns for voters. The Turkish lira was down last year by almost 30 per cent and it continues to fall, inflation is running as high as 20 per cent and unemployment is also high.

Having begun his political career as mayor of Istanbul, losing the city would also be of personal significance for Mr Erdogan.

The final result will be decided by the country's High Electoral Board and is expected within the next week.

Updated: April 7, 2019 05:50 PM

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