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Election body to decide Istanbul mayor: Ruling AK Party

Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party’s Istanbul mayoral candidate Binali Yildirim (C) speaks to press members in Istanbul, Turkey on 3 April 2019. [Serhat Çağdaş - Anadolu Agency]
Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party’s Istanbul mayoral candidate Binali Yildirim (C) speaks to press members in Istanbul, Turkey on 3 April 2019. [Serhat Çağdaş - Anadolu Agency]

Turkey’s ruling party mayoral candidate has said the top election body will decide the winner for Istanbul which saw a neck-to-neck contest in Sunday’s local polls, Anadolu reports.

Binali Yildrim, who is also the former parliament speaker, told reporters on Wednesday that Istanbulites have already made their decision and are awaiting an announcement by the Supreme Election Council (YSK).

“The election is over, however, the complaint and appeal period continues,” Yildirim said.

According to unofficial results, the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) candidate Ekrem Imamoglu leads Istanbul with 48.79 per cent of the votes, whereas Yildirim follows with 48.51 per cent of the votes. However, the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party has said a recount might change these results.

Yildirim also criticized Imamoglu for introducing himself as mayor of Istanbul before waiting for the official results, referring to his visit to Anitkabir, the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk — the founder of Turkey and its first president — where Imamoglu signed the memorial book as mayor of Istanbul.

“Signing the book in Anitkabir as mayor of Istanbul is a shock move, I am not saying anything else,” he added.

Republican People’s Party (CHP) candidate for Istanbul mayorship Ekrem Imamoglu (R) and Republican People’s Party (CHP) candidate for Ankara mayorship Mansur Yavas (L) shake hands as they pose for a photo during Imamoglu’s visit to Yavas in Ankara, Turkey on April 02, 2019. ( Murat Kaynak – Anadolu Agency )

Early Wednesday, responding to a legal challenge by the AK Party, the YSK decided to re-examine some votes in seven districts of Istanbul.

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.

Meanwhile, Mansur Yavas, CHP’s mayoral candidate in capital Ankara, is leading with 50.91 per cent of votes, according to unofficial results, with the AK Party’s Mehmet Ozhaseki at 47.1 per cent.

The AK Party has also challenged poll results in 11 districts of Ankara.

READ: Some votes to be reassessed in 7 districts of Istanbul 

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