CHP hands ‘poll safety report’ to AKP, demands changes to election legislative package
The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has submitted their report on “election safety” to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) parliamentary group, demanding revisions in the legislative package that deals with pre-election alliances and changes in election laws.
“We have demanded changes in 18 articles (of 26 articles in the package) and invited eight political parties directly to parliament to express their views,” CHP Deputy Group Leader Özgür Özel said, following an hour-long meeting with the AKP group on Mar. 8.
The CHP concluded its report on election safety after conducting several meetings with eight parties, including the People’s Democracy Party (HDP), the Felicity Party (SP) and the Grand Union Party (BBP).
The CHP had previously voiced concerns over the 26-article legislative package, arguing that it “grants extensive powers to local authorities and creates some practical uncertainties.”
“There are also some provisions that enable interfering in the counting of ballot papers. There are others that would validate erroneous voting patterns. Some provisions change the configuration of ballot committees and hinder free voting,” Özel said on Mar. 6, after the meeting with the HDP.
In light of these effects, the main opposition demanded a change in the provision that allows the relocation of ballot boxes over security reasons and unification or diversification of constituencies, as well as the provision that changes the definition of the ballot box area and allows armed personnel to enter ballot box rooms. The CHP also demanded that the provision that sees unsealed ballot papers as valid be excluded from the package.
The CHP also proposes the annulation of the 10 percent electoral threshold, and providing a grant to political parties that secured more than one percent of the vote.
The package, which was prepared jointly by the AKP and the MHP, was submitted to the parliamentary commission on Feb. 21.
The first 23 articles have been approved by the commission, which is due to discuss the remaining three articles in the Mar. 8 session.
AKP Deputy Group Leader Mustafa Elitaş has underlined the alliance with the MHP, stating that the “11-article demand will be elaborated with the MHP.”
“[We said to the CHP that] if the AKP and MHP as an alliance regard your offer as positive, we will continue. Otherwise it won’t be right if the AKP says yes to something that the MHP says no to. Because the alliance agreement should continue,” Elitaş said, following the meeting with the CHP.
“In accordance with our alliance, the last three articles of the package will pass in the commission,” he added, stating that the package would be submitted to the parliamentary assembly and discussions would begin in the Mar. 12 session.
Stating that the CHP had not contributed to the commission works but issued only unconstitutional motions, MHP Deputy Group Leader Erkan Akçay said: “The CHP hasn’t made any proposal to change anything, hasn’t contributed.”
“We do not condone the CHP’s delaying tactic,” the MHP said.