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Turkish election heads to recount after discrepancies found

By Nicholas Sakelaris
The Supreme Electoral Council ordered a recount for races in Istanbul after voting discrepancies were discovered. Photo by Sedat Suna/EPA-EFE
The Supreme Electoral Council ordered a recount for races in Istanbul after voting discrepancies were discovered. Photo by Sedat Suna/EPA-EFE

April 3 (UPI) -- The Turkish Supreme Electoral Council on Wednesday authorized vote recounts in Istanbul after discrepancies and invalid ballots were discovered in several districts.

Supreme Electoral Council head Sadi Guven said the recount will mostly focus on invalid votes.

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The Republican People's Party, or CHP, won big in several of Sunday's local races for mayor, city council, elder council and mukhtar, a title for neighborhood official in the country. But President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his ruling Justice and Development Party, known as AK, dispute the results. Two of those cities have been firmly AK for more than a decade.

"We have detected significant discrepancies among the tabulated results with wet signatures and stamps -- which shows the first vote record -- the final record and the total number of votes submitted to the YSK," party leader Bayram Senocak said.

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The CHP claimed victories the capital Ankara, Izmir and Istanbul.

CHP officials halted the recount process in Istanbul earlier this week but the Supreme Electoral Council ruled that the recount should resume.

"The recounting process is not only evaluated in terms of the objecting party," Guven said.

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One of the disputed races is for mayor of Istanbul, where CHP candidate Ekrem Imamoglu has a 22,000-vote lead over AK candidate Binali Yildirim. Imamoglu received 48.79 percent of the vote while Yildirim has 48.51 percent.

Imamoglu called on the Supreme Electoral Council to carry out its recount but also give him the mandate as elected mayor. He said he believes the recount will affect both candidates but the results won't change.

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