ANKARA (AA): Reassessing invalid votes is not an unprecedented process, as such procedures were done in previous elections as well, said the head of Turkey’s election authority on Wednesday.
Addressing Sunday’s local Turkish elections, which have triggered recounts and legal challenges over invalid ballots, Sadi Guven, head of the Supreme Electoral Council (YSK), said: “The recounting process is not only evaluated in terms of the objecting party.”
Speaking to reporters in the capital Ankara, Guven said examination of invalid ballots includes all parties in accordance with the criteria in Article 298 of Turkey’s election law and YSK rules.
Such processes, which often occur during elections, have attracted attention as they are taking place in Istanbul, a metropolis of some 16 million people, he added.
Early Wednesday, responding to a legal challenge by the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party, the council decided to re-examine some votes in seven districts of Istanbul from the weekend local elections.
Bayram Senocak, the party’s Istanbul provincial head, said it had found “significant discrepancies” in the poll results.
In the Istanbul mayor’s race, Ekrem Imamoglu of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), with 48.79 percent of the votes, currently has a narrow lead over the AK Party’s Binali Yildirim, with 48.51 percent.
Sunday’s local elections
Millions of Turkish voters cast their votes nationwide Sunday in 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), with 24 smaller cities also claimed by AK Party candidates.
Mansur Yavas, the CHP’s mayoral candidate in the capital Ankara, is leading with 50.91 percent of votes, according to unofficial results, with the AK Party’s Mehmet Ozhaseki at 47.1 percent.
The AK Party has also challenged the poll results in all 25 districts of Ankara.