Vote recount narrows gap btw Istanbul mayoral candidates

By Etem Geylan </p> <p>ISTANBUL (AA) – The vote recount in Istanbul, one of the biggest Turkish city, have narrowed the vote gap between the mayoral candidates of the ruling and main opposition parties, according to Binali Yildirim of the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party.

Addressing Sunday’s local elections in Turkey, which have triggered recounts and legal contests over invalid ballots, Yildirim, AK Party’s Istanbul mayoral candidate, said: “Recount continues in the Istanbul mayoral poll. The vote gap between the candidates narrowed from some 29,000 to around 18,000. ”

“There is nothing to do but to wait, Supreme Election Council will manage entire process, ” Yildirim said.

“Recount of Istanbul ballots is being carried out in line with the law, ” Yildirim added.

On Thursday, AK Party’s Deputy Chairman Ali Ihsan Yavuz said 11,109 votes turned in favor of the ruling party after recount in 530 ballot boxes in Turkey.

Early Wednesday, responding to a legal contest by the AK Party, the Supreme Election Council decided to re-examine some votes in seven districts of Istanbul.

According to unofficial results, the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) candidate Ekrem Imamoglu leads Istanbul with 48.79% of the votes, whereas Binali Yildirim of AK Party follows with 48.51% of the votes.

However, the AK Party has said a recount might change the results.

Millions of Turkish voters cast their votes nationwide in the local elections to choose Turkey’s mayors, city council members, mukhtars (neighborhood officials), and members of elder councils for the next five years.

According to unofficial results, the AK Party is leading in 15 metropolitan municipalities (larger cities) and 24 smaller cities.

*Writing by Cagatay Zontur, Ali Murat Alhas and Zehra Nur Duz