Main opposition CHP talks poll safety with Felicity Party, HDP
Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) representatives have visited the offices of Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and the Felicity Party (SP) to convey their concerns over electoral safety in the upcoming Turkish elections.
“Our concerns and findings are common, but the overriding worry that we share is that the elections should not be held under state of emergency conditions,” CHP Deputy Leader Özgür Özel said on March 6, following a 30-minute meeting with HDP officials at the Kurdish issue-focused party’s headquarters in Ankara.
“The state of emergency, which has been going on for the last 18 months and being carried out as though it is the normal way to run a country, and the cabinet of ministers being presided over by the presidency rather than the parliament is quite problematic,” he added.
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) have recently submitted a 26-article legislative package to a parliamentary commission to be evaluated. But the package has drawn widespread criticism from opposition parties, which have said the proposal includes provisions that endanger electoral safety.
Özel said the CHP had some major concerns.
“First of all, in the package there are some legal regulations which grant extensive powers to local authorities and create some practical uncertainties. There are also some provisions which enable interfering in the counting of ballot papers. There are others that would validate erroneous voting patterns. Some provisions are changing the configuration of ballot committees and hinders free voting,” he added.
Following the meeting, HDP spokesperson Ayhan Bilgen said the HDP shared the CHP’s concerns, stressing that the AKP was trying to smear any opposition against the AKP-MHP alliance.
“That would only cause further tension in the country, making elections anything but a fair race. That is why we believe that protecting voters’ will means protecting the country,” he added.
SP leader Temel Karamollaoğlu also stated that the legislative changes that the government has proposed “have the risk of increasing the government’s power.”
“Elections should not be clouded,” Karamollaoğlu said following the meeting with CHP representatives, adding that he hopes AKP officials would take the concerns of the opposition into consideration.
The SP has been at the center of public attention after both CHP and AKP officials paid a visit to the party to gather support for possible alliances. He, however, dismissed claims that the SP would take part in any alliance, while he also criticized AKP policies.
Erdoğan indirectly criticized Karamollaoğlu’s stance on March 6 while addressing his party group in parliament.
“If the parties with which we wish to be under the same roof [of the AKP-MHP alliance] choose other alliances for themselves, we have nothing but to say but goodbye to them,” Erdoğan said.
“We want to establish alliances with parties we share many things with, not a few. We cannot form alliances with parties we don’t have much in common with,” he added.