As of 3:30 P.M. yesterday, the vote difference between in Istanbul Binali Yıldırım and Ekrem İmamoğlu dropped to 16,442. The re-evaluation of the invalid voting slips added 4,143 votes to the Justice and Development Party’s (AK Party) total. At the time this article was being written, we know that 70 percent of the votes in this category were counted. With a little simulation, we can consider that the remaining 30 percent of invalid votes will not change the result.
That is how it is here, but what if there are votes among the millions of votes, which were considered valid and remain waiting untouched in the bags, that unrightfully went to another party? What will we do then?
Mentioning such a suspicion without any basis may be loutish and unjust. However, taking into account that the vote difference dropped down to 1.5, if we have seen that going through part of the votes again has led to vote differences in the thousands, it will be better to take steps to eliminate those suspicions rather than turn toward an option that is likely to eat us inside for a lifetime.
IF ALL VOTES ARE RECOUNTED, ONE VOTE WILL BE TWO VOTES
Recounting all of Istanbul’s votes means that unlike the invalid votes, one vote will be two votes. That is to say, in such a case, votes counted for one party by mistake will be counted for the other party. In other words, when a vote that went to the incorrect party goes back to the correct address, the difference is going to change in twos.
AK Party’s Deputy Chair Ali İhsan Yavuz stated yesterday that they will apply to have the votes in all Istanbul districts recounted.
He said, “We told district election councils to count ‘all the votes.’ I had said on the first evening that there is doubt in the Istanbul elections. We are resorting to legal means to eliminate this.”
Adding a U.S. practice to election law may put end to disputes
As these matters come up on the agenda and the focus shifts to these areas, questions such as, “Could something new be done?” also come to mind.
We learned that there is a method applied in the U.S. If the vote difference between two parties or candidates is less than 1 percent, then it is decided to recount all the votes. Such a regulation in the existing election law in Turkey may present a contribution that will put an end to the question marks or disputes regarding the election results that ended in a photo finish.
This, of course, can be valid for the following elections. At the moment, we have a huge “Istanbul unknown” in front of us, and the best way to solve this problem and eliminate the questions in mind may be to recount the votes.
Is it possible to interpret the March 31 result as a ‘distrust’ vote?
On a different note, there is an important question that was overshadowed by the Istanbul discussions with respect to the March 31 elections. Are we going to evaluate the winners and losers of the election results based on the achievements/losses in municipalities, or the total votes received? Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Group Deputy Chairman Erkan Akçay responded to this question with an answer that I found logical:
“Municipalities sometimes lose with even one vote after all. Therefore, to interpret the ‘trust/distrust’ messages of the election results aimed at those running the country, we should look at the total votes given.”
When we apply this view, for example, on Istanbul’s “non-finalized results,” we are talking about a difference that drops to even below 2/1000. We will see what will happen once the process in the Supreme Electoral Board (YSK) patronage is completed.
However, taking into account the current data, it is not possible, based on the votes given to Binali Yıldırım in Istanbul, to reach the conclusion that there is “distrust” toward the country’s administration.
If, at the end of the day, Istanbul is left to the hands of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), this will be the greatest loss of the local elections for the ruling AK Party.
Yet the total votes received together with the MHP exceeding that of the previous elections, are going to allow President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to act “without looking back” in policies and practices with respect to the country’s fundamental issues.
Using terms such as victory, smack-down without any regard to this fine balance shows a poor interpretation of March 31.