Erdogan's party to demand total recount of Istanbul ballots

An electoral official preparing the ballots during the local elections in Istanbul on March 31, 2019.
An electoral official preparing the ballots during the local elections in Istanbul on March 31, 2019.PHOTO: AFP

ISTANBUL (AFP) - Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's party said on Sunday (April 7) that it will demand a recount of all ballots cast in Istanbul during last week's mayoral election won by an opposition candidate.

The Justice and Development Party (AKP) will make the demand by 5pm (10pm Singapore time), its vice-president Ali Ihsan Yavuz said. A recount is already under way in several of Istanbul's 39 districts.

Last Saturday, a party spokesman said the AKP would accept the results of local election recounts in Istanbul as well as Ankara, no matter which party is declared the winner.

The AKP won most votes nationwide in last Sunday's election, but results showed the ruling party lost Ankara and was also narrowly defeated in Istanbul in what would be one of its worst setbacks in a decade and a half in power.

Electoral authorities are conducting a recount in scores of districts in Ankara and Istanbul where tallies showed the opposition CHP candidate Ekrem Imamoglu with a very slim lead over the AKP.

Losing Istanbul would be a blow to Mr Erdogan, who built his political career as mayor of the city before becoming prime minister and later president.