State-run Anadolu Agency says Istanbul, Ankara’s invalid votes to be examined

Provincial and district electoral institutions expect appeals for a fresh examination of votes declared invalid in counts in three provinces, including Istanbul and Ankara, state-run Anadolu Agency said on Monday.

The state-run agency has been heavily criticised by the opposition after it suspended updates to local election results for three hours. While Anadolu started updating its data at around 2:30 a.m. local time (GMT +2), it has not updated results for mayoral race in Istanbul, where both candidates have declared victory.

In Istanbul there are 290,394 votes declared invalid, while in Ankara the number is 79,473, Anadolu said. 

Mansur Yavaş, the candidate representing the alliance between main opposition Republican People’s Party and the nationalist Good Party, declared victory in Ankara after Anadolu’s count put him well ahead, while in Istanbul there is a neck and neck race between opposition candidate Ekrem İmamoğlu and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) candidate Binali Yıldırım.

The third city where the invalid votes will be pivotal for the results is eastern province of Iğdır, where the predominantly Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) appears to have won.

Ruling AKP's Secretary General Fatih Şahin on Sunday said that AKP would be objecting to what it called invalid votes and irregularities in many ballot boxes in capital Ankara, where the opposition candidate is in the lead, state-run Anadolu news agency reported.