Turkey local election results delayed as AKP lodges objections

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Erdogan Party Leads Nationwide Vote Total, But Suffers Big Setbacks In Mayor Races

Ekrem Imamoglu, main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) candidate for mayor of Istanbul, visits Anitkabir, the mausoleum of modern Turkey's founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, as he is flanked by his family members and supporters in Ankara, Turkey, April 2, 2019.

The AKP, however, suffered a major upset as results showed it had lost not only the political center, Ankara, and the third-largest city of Izmir, but also probably Istanbul, which is Turkey's commercial center and Erdogan's home city.

The AKP's Ankara branch also said on Tuesday that it would challenge results in 25 districts of the capital, after the party lost control of the city to the CHP-led opposition.

AK Party's Istanbul candidate Binali Yildirim told reporters on Monday that invalid votes cast on Sunday outnumber the vote difference tenfold, adding that his rival Ekrem Imamoglu - the candidate of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) - now had 25,000 more votes. The number of canceled votes is 319,500.

The renewed slip in Turkey's financial markets and uncertain policy reaction to recession raises a risk of further capital flight, Moody's said, adding that the results of local polls will likely determine the future path of macroeconomic policy.

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The chairman of Turkey's Supreme Election Board (YSK), Sadi Guven, said on Monday that Imamoglu was leading by almost 28,000 votes with most ballots counted. "I will congratulate him if the election board YSK announces him as the victor but I must note that the counting process is still ongoing".

"However the fact that the government agency waited 24 hours before announcing the Istanbul results and all the debates that have been continuing on possible AKP reactions, at least, show that accepting the CHP victory in Istanbul is a really hard decision for AKP", Aydogan said.

"Some of the ballots for Binali Yıldırım were wrongfully recorded for CHP's candidate İmamoğlu".

He added that there are over 290,000 votes deemed invalid and that a lot of them were from districts where AK Party won. "Because formal objections for every ballot box have to be filed immediately after counting ends".

In the week leading up to the elections, Turkish stocks, bonds and the currency sold off, prompting the government to direct banks to temporarily starve a key London market of lira liquidity, according to officials. The results, which are pending the appeals process, were one of Erdogan's most serious electoral setbacks in years. "Everyone should respect it", he added, emphasizing that there are discrepancies between reports from polling centers and vote counts for Ankara and Istanbul.

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If the initial outcomes hold, it would be a political setback for the Turkish leader, who campaigned extensively for his party's candidates.

Sunday's local elections were widely seen as a test of support for Erdogan as the nation of 81 million people faces a daunting economic recession with double-digit inflation, rising food prices and high unemployment.

This was the first municipal vote since Mr Erdogan assumed sweeping executive powers through last year's presidential election.

This article has been adapted from its original source.

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