Turkey’s election board rejects ruling party request for full Istanbul recount

Turkey’s top election board has rejected a request by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s ruling party to recount all votes in 31 Istanbul districts, a board member said on Tuesday.

On Monday, Erdoğan said the March 31 vote for Istanbul mayor was marred by irregularities “almost across the board”. His Justice and Development Party (AKP) applied to the Supreme Election Board (YSK) at the weekend for a full recount in the Istanbul election, won, according to preliminary YSK results, by opposition politician Ekren İmamoğlu.

A partial recount is already underway. İmamoğlu is ahead by almost 16,000 votes with 90 percent of the count complete, although his lead has shrunk by more than a third.

The AKP’s YSK representative Recep Özel told reporters the board rejected the full recount, but agreed to a recount of 51 ballot boxes in 21 of the city’s total 39 districts, according to Reuters. This represents some 15,000 votes out of 8 million cast in Turkey’s largest city and economic hub.

The Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) Istanbul branch celebrated with an early Tuesday tweet confirming İmamoğlu as mayor of Istanbul.

AKP Deputy Chairman Ali Ihsan Yavuz said his party would challenge the YSK decision. “It is unfathomable that such a decision should be made when there are so many irregularities. We will go once more to the YSK using the method of an extraordinary challenge,” he tweeted early Tuesday.

The AKP had also sought recounts in Ankara, where initial results showed opposition CHP candidate Mansur Yavaş winning by four percentage points. The YSK upheld the result and on Monday Yavaş became the city’s new mayor.