Turkey’s polls board rejects call for full Istanbul vote recount

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A voter casts her ballot during Turkey's local elections in Ankara, Turkey, March 31, 2019. Xinhua/Qin Yanyang

ISTANBUL (Reuters) –Turkey’s High Election Board has rejected a request by President Tayyip Erdogan’s AK Party to recount all votes in 31 Istanbul districts, a board member said yesterday, but his party vowed to challenge the decision.

Mr Erdogan said on Monday the local elections were marred by “organised crime” at ballot boxes in Istanbul, raising the possibility of re-running a March 31 vote in the city that handed a slim majority to the main opposition party.

Mr Erdogan’s comments, his strongest challenge yet to the election process in Turkey’s largest city, briefly drove the lira down and also weighed on Turkish stocks.

The AKP’s High Election Board (YSK) representative Recep Ozel told reporters the board had only agreed to a recount of 51 ballot boxes, spread across 21 of the city’s total 39 districts. A total of 350 voters are assigned to each ballot box.

AK Party Deputy Chairman Ali Ihsan Yavuz subsequently said his party would challenge the decision to reject a recount.

The AKP had also sought recounts across Ankara, where initial results showed CHP candidate Mansur Yavas winning by four percentage points. But the YSK upheld the result and on Monday Mr Yavas formally received his mandate as new mayor.

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