Tuesday, Oct 22

AK Party asks Supreme Election Council to resolve vote dispute

Ruling AK Party to appeal to Supreme Election Council to end mismatch between ballot box reports, vote counts for Istanbul and Ankara.
02.04.2019 - 08:59

Turkey's ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party said early Tuesday it plans to ask the Supreme Election Council (YSK) to resolve a dispute over invalid votes in mayoral elections for Istanbul and Ankara.


Party spokesman Ömer Çelik said at a press conference that their appeal process is a natural one to remove irregularities in the election results. "The [appeal] process is legitimate. Everyone should respect it," Çelik said at the party’s headquarters.

He said there are discrepancies between reports from polling centers and vote counts for the capital Ankara and Istanbul, adding the AK Party will safeguard every vote it received as it will meticulously follow this process. "We will respect the results regardless of the outcome, as it is our people's choice," Çelik added.


Votes were still being counted in the race for Istanbul’s metropolitan municipality, Binali Yıldırım, the AK Party’s mayoral candidate there, said earlier Monday. Yıldırım told reporters that invalid votes cast Sunday greatly outnumber the vote gap between the candidates, adding his rival the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) candidate Ekrem İmamoğlu currently seems to have 25,000 more votes.

"There are 31,136 ballot boxes [in Istanbul]. If one vote is filled in incorrectly in each ballot box, this equals 31,136 votes, which is more than the difference," he added. "There are 319,500 invalid votes. The vote gap is 25,000. So the invalid votes outnumber the gap tenfold," Yıldırım said, adding there were also irregularities, mistakes and wrong entries. Yıldırım also said the votes for the two candidates were not expected to be "so close to each other."

The AK Party said it will pursue the legal process with the documents it has, but Çelik didn't provide a specific date for their appeal. Yıldırım also thanked all Istanbulites and stressed that the Supreme Election Council will have the final say.


Millions of Turkish voters cast their votes nationwide Sunday in elections to choose Turkey’s mayors, city council members, mukhtars (neighborhood officials) and members of elder councils for the next five years. Turkey's AK Party is leading in 16 metropolitan municipalities (larger cities), with 24 cities claimed by AK Party candidates, according to unofficial results.

The CHP’s İmamoğlu, with 48.79 percent of the votes, has a narrow lead over Yıldırım, with 48.51 percent. Mansur Yavaş, the CHP’s mayoral candidate in Ankara, is leading with 50.91 percent of votes, according to unofficial results, with the AK Party’s Mehmet Özhaseki trailing at 47.1 percent.

After Sunday's local elections, both İmamoğluand Yavaş declared themselves mayor on their Twitter profiles.