Erdogan’s Party to Formally Ask for Fresh Election in Istanbul

(Bloomberg) -- Turkey’s governing AK Party will officially make a request to authorities for a new election in the closely contested March 31 mayoral vote in Istanbul only after a partial recount currently underway is completed.

The recount in some districts of Turkey’s largest city could take a few more days, following which the AKP will submit a so-called “extraordinary objection” to the high election board known as YSK, according to Recep Ozel, the ruling party representative on the board.

The AKP says it’s demanding a repeat of last month’s vote because “widespread irregularities” tainted the election where Erdogan’s candidate was beaten by an opposition alliance, according to an unofficial tally of the recount so far. Erdogan’s refusal to concede defeat in Istanbul and his party’s pressure for a repeat election has been condemned by political opponents as an attack on Turkey’s democratic foundations, which he’s accused of chipping away at during his decade and a half in power.

“We’ve enough documents and information in line with the election boards’ criteria that will necessitate a rerun of the election,” Ozel told Bloomberg on Friday.

The latest tally shows Ekrem Imamoglu, the opposition’s candidate to run Istanbul, leading his rival by around 14,000 votes. The ruling party’s push for fresh elections in the city is rattling investors in the Middle East’s leading economy.

The lira was trading 1.1 percent lower at 5.7975 per dollar at 12:03 p.m. in Istanbul to become the worst performing currency among emerging market peers tracked by Bloomberg.

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