World Bulletin / News Desk
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People's Party has applied for a recount of local election votes in Istanbul.
Mustafa Sarigul, the party’s candidate for mayor of the city, said on Tuesday that the counting process had been marred by irregularities and called on the Higher Election Council to hold a total recount of votes.
“Let’s recount votes and democracy wins,” he said.
Although provisional results of Sunday’s election showed the ruling AK Party’s candidate, Kadir Topbas, is seven percent ahead of Sarigul, the mayoral candidate said he wanted a definitive election result.
“Even if one vote was stolen, it is a black stain for democracy in this country,” Sarigul stated.
The party’s Istanbul chairman, Oguz Kaan Salici, said he had received documents from party members showing numerical anomalies between the count of ballot boxes and results posted by the election council.
“We have determined that there are numerical irregularities at 3,500 ballot boxes,” Salici told press members, adding that the party had applied to the election body for a recount in three districts.
The ruling AK Party has not commented to date on the claims.
Topbas declared his election victory on Monday.
Police disperse election protest in Ankara
Riot police dispersed a group of people protesting outside the Supreme Electoral Council (YSK) against local election results in the capital Ankara today amid claims of vote fraud.
Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's ruling AK Party kept control of the two biggest cities, Istanbul and Ankara, and increased its share of the national vote in Sunday's elections, but the opposition has said it will contest some of the results.
Opposition supporters, many of them students who answered calls on social media, meanwhile packed the basement of the main opposition CHP headquarters, working shifts through the night as they searched results sheets for signs of fraud.
After all the votes were counted, AK Party emerged as the strongest party in their eighth consecutive election with 45% of the vote, way ahead of their closest rivals CHP, which only gained 27% of the overall vote.
The result was a bitter disappointment for the CHP, which, despite raising its share of the national vote, failed to shrug off its image as a bastion of the secularist elite, aloof from the realities of life for the weight of the population in the socially conservative Muslim nation of 77 million people.
The CHP is particularly challenging the result in Ankara and in the southern coastal city of Antalya, traditionally a CHP stronghold which fell to the AKP.
The YSK has said it will only announce final, official results once all claims of irregularities have been resolved. That could take weeks, with the CHP filing 8,000 complaints in Ankara alone according to the Hurriyet daily, four times the challenges nationwide at the last local elections in 2009.
Despite a turbulent political past, previous elections in Turkey have been largely seen as free and fair.
Riot police fired tear gas and water cannon to disperse protesters outside local government offices in the southeastern district of Ceylanpinar near the Syrian border on Tuesday after results there showed an AKP victory, security sources said.
The clashes were sparked by rumours of fraud, including the burning of ballot slips, according to Hurriyet. The pro-Kurdish BDP party was challenging the result.
The newspaper meanwhile said ballots stamped with votes for the CHP and the nationalist MHP party had been found in rubbish bags at six schools in a district won by the AK Party in the southern province of Osmaniye. Similarly, ballots stamped with votes AK Party was found burned in Kartal district of Istanbul, won by CHP.Last Mod: 01 Nisan 2014, 17:57