Conflict over recount of 400 ballot boxes as AKP prepares for re-run in Istanbul

The recount process of the invalid ballots continues in Istanbul on Monday, after the Supreme Election Council’s (YSK) abrupt cancellation of the recount of 400 ballot boxes on Sunday as the AK Party (AKP) prepare their demand for an election re-run.

According to reports, the recounting was stopped after the ruling AKP and its far-right ally, Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), refused to send witnesses to sign off reports indicating the data of recounted votes.

Recount could have been finalized on Sunday

Had YSK not ruled in favor of the cancelation, Istanbul’s recounting process would have
ended late on Sunday evening, as the votes in the ballot boxes were being recounted by an
additional 10 teams, as requested by the opposition Republican People’s Party’s (CHP)
Istanbul mayor-elect, Ekrem Imamoglu, in a bid to accelerate the recounting process in
Istanbul’s Maltepe district.

Turkish media reported that Imamoglu was 13,907 votes ahead of AKP’s Binali Yildirim at
around 8 pm on Sunday, before the YSK ruled to cancel the recounts. The AKP and MHP
appealed the results, and the YSK canceled the recount that was conducted by the extra 10
teams and ruled that the recount process would continue at 9 am on Monday by the two
originally designated teams.

The opposition, CHP, then appealed the ruling and the YSK announced its decision to continue the recount at 10 am on Monday.

AKP anticipated different results in their favor

Commenting on the issue on Sunday, Baris Yarkadas, a former CHP lawmaker and journalist, said that AKP had anticipated different results from the Maltepe recount.

“When [initial] results revealed to be other than what they [AKP] hoped for, they refused to sign the [recount] reports so that the process would continue. The power [AKP] defies [the will of] people,” he said in a tweet.

On Friday, Yarkadas claimed that a group of AKP and MHP members entered the
recount hall forcibly and attempted to halt the process by explicitly threatening the judges
heading the recounting team.

Police intervention

The counting was halted after police intervention when the disagreement between the two
opposing groups became tense. The judges in charge recorded the incident in official

The AKP’s Deputy Chairman Ali Ihsan Yavuz announced on his Twitter account on Sunday, that the party’s preparation for the extraordinary objection on the Istanbul re-run is almost ready.

CHP’s mayor-elect, Imamoglu, won the run for the metropolitan mayorship in Istanbul,
according to unofficial results of the March 31 polls. However, the governing AKP has repeatedly appealed the election results in Istanbul, asking for recounts of all votes. YSK
rejected AKP’s demand for a total recount and ruled, instead, a partial recount on Tuesday.

AKP then resorted to an extraordinary objection process before the YSK, appealing for a re-run of the Istanbul mayoral elections. AKP has been trying to prove widespread voter fraud in Büyükçekmece district of Istanbul in order to make the re-run possible. The election authority has postponed this ruling until the votes recount in the Maltepe district of Istanbul is finalized.

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