FILE PHOTO – People walk past by AK Party billboards with pictures of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and mayoral candidate Binali Yildirim in Istanbul, Turkey, April 1, 2019. The billboards read: ” Thank you Istanbul “. REUTERS/Murad Sezer
ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Turkey’s ruling AK Party submitted a second petition to cancel and re-run Istanbul elections it lost three weeks ago, citing thousands of ballots cast by people it said were ineligible to vote due to previous government decrees, state-run Anadolu news agency said on Saturday.
Based on initial results and a series of recounts, the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) won the mayoralty in Turkey’s largest city, in a defeat for President Tayyip Erdogan who began his political career there and served as its mayor in the 1990s.
The new CHP mayor Ekrem Imamoglu took office on Wednesday, despite a formal request submitted a day earlier by the AK Party (AKP) to annul and repeat the mayoral elections over what it said were irregularities.
Erdogan had said his AKP would keep up its challenge, and on Saturday it filed an additional petition to the High Election Board because of some 14,000 votes cast by those it said were ineligible due to the decrees, according to broadcaster NTV.
Citing AKP Deputy Chairman Ali Ihsan Yavuz, NTV said the party also found 424 people who had voted illegally.
Reporting by Jonathan Spicer and Tuvan Gumrukcu; Editing by Hugh Lawson