Turkey’s governing party will request a rerun of last month’s mayoral election in Istanbul, stoking concerns that the country’s democracy is fraying as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan refuses to concede defeat in the city where he built his political career.
The election board had earlier rejected a request by the AK Party for a full recount of votes in Turkey’s largest city, ordering instead a partial recount covering 51 ballot boxes in 21 districts of Istanbul. It has yet to decide on whether to cancel the election in the city district of Buyukcekmece based on a previous request by the party.
The AK Party will petition for an “extraordinary objection” citing widespread allegations of fraud in the March 31 election, Recep Ozel, a party official assigned to the election board, said by telephone on Tuesday.
Erdogan’s determination to push for another vote has fueled concern that an authoritarian streak in Turkey’s government is deepening and has rattled investors in the Middle East’s leading economy.
On Tuesday, he received support from a key ally. “If the election results won’t comfort the conscience of the public then a new election that will do so can be considered,” Devlet Bahceli, head of the nationalist MHP, said in Ankara. “That can be held within 60 says,” he said. “What is important is to avoid chaos.”
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