Decree law enables Turkish citizens abroad to vote without address registration
ANKARAAround a million Turkish citizens who live abroad but who do not have a registered address will be eligible to vote in a potential referendum on changes to Turkey’s constitution, according to a newly introduced decree law.
With the new regulation, voters abroad will be able to vote without registering an overseas address with the Turkish authorities.
The novelty has drawn criticism from some opposition deputies, who say changes in election laws cannot be enforced for votes that take place within a year of the change stipulated.
Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Deputy Chair Bülent Tezcan said the government is trying to “distort the rule of law” with the decree.
“The recent regulation expired this month. The around a million citizens who did not have their foreign addresses registered amount to a drop in the pool. But now a regulation is being brought forward enabling them to cast ballots without registering their address. This will turn [voting] into an uncontrolled situation, paving the way for duplicated votes. There will no longer be ballot security,” said Tezcan.
The Turkish Parliament has geared up for an intense one-week period in which the 18 constitution amendment articles will be discussed in its General Assembly starting on Jan. 9. Having passed through parliament’s constitution committee at the end of 2016, the amendment needs the votes of 330 deputies in order to be submitted to the votes of the Turkish people in a referendum.