Istanbul vote count enters third week

ANKARA: Electoral officials ordered a second recount of votes in an east Istanbul district on Monday, after two weeks of appeals by President Tayyip Erdogan’s AK Party against results showing it had narrowly lost control of Turkey’s largest city.
Repeated AKP challenges to the initial results have led to growing frustration among supporters of the main opposition CHP, which spilled over onto the football terraces at the weekend when Istanbul’s top teams played two derby matches.
“Give the mandate, give Imamoglu the mandate now,” fans of Besiktas and Fenerbahce chanted, as their teams played current league leaders Basaksehir, whom Erdogan has said he supports, and runners-up Galatasaray.
The secularist Republican People’s Party (CHP) mayoral candidate Ekrem Imamoglu, who attended both matches, holds a slim lead of around 0.2 percentage points over his AK Party rival, former prime minister Binali Yildirim, according to initial results of the March 31 local elections.
The loss of Ankara ended 25 years of control over the capital by the AK Party and predecessors. Defeat in Istanbul, where Erdogan was mayor in the 1990s, would be an even greater blow to the president who has dominated Turkish politics through a decade and half of repeated election triumphs.
On Monday electoral officials in the Maltepe district of Istanbul, where a recount of votes in 1,089 ballot boxes had already been underway for nearly a week, ruled for a fresh recount after an appeal by the AKP and their nationalist MHP allies, broadcaster NTV said.
The appeal centred around an AKP objection to the additional teams brought in to speed up the recount, and means more than half the votes in the district must be recounted again. — Reuters