Turkey election board rejects ruling party’s recount call in 31 Istanbul districts
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Turkey election board rejects ruling party’s recount call in 31 Istanbul districts

Erdogan said Monday that Turkey’s local elections last week had been marred by “organized crime” at ballot boxes in his home city, Istanbul, after results showed his ruling AKP candidate had slightly lost the race. Erdogan’s alliance led by the AKP succeeded in securing over 51 percent of the vote nationally, leading him to declare an overall victory. The AKP, however, suffered a major upset as results showed it had lost not only the political center, Ankara, and the third-largest city of Izmir, but also probably Istanbul, which is Turkey’s commercial center. The ruling party’s election board representative Recep Ozel told reporters after a board meeting on Tuesday that the election body had only agreed to a recount of 51 ballot boxes in 21 districts of Turkey’s second-largest city. Ozel also said his party’s request for a full recount in the city’s Buyukcekmece district had yet to be studied by the council. The election board announced Wednesday that it would recount local election votes in eight districts of Istanbul after objections. Speaking to reporters in Ankara, the head of election board Sadi Guven said that the recount would mostly focus on invalid votes, adding that this was not an unprecedented decision. Appeals to the council were still ongoing, he added. Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the head of main opposition Republican People’s party (CHP), said on Monday that the election board had entered a process that damages the security of ballot boxes after it agreed to a partial recount of local votes in Istanbul. Erdogan’s election losses appear to be partially rooted in the country’s economic downturn. Turkey’s currency, the lira, has been losing its value recently. National economy slipped into recession in the last three months of 2018 amid public discontent with rising inflation and unemployment. The vote also marked the first ballot-box test for Erdogan since he was re-elected last year under a new system of government, which gives sweeping powers to the president.

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