The İYİ Party and the Supreme Board of Elections

The İYİ Party and the Supreme Board of Elections

Turkey’s Supreme Board of Elections (YSK) should have approved the İYİ (Good) Party’s participation in the upcoming elections well before the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) temporarily transferred 15 deputies so the İYİ Party would have the right to participate in the election.

That move raised the number of the İYİ Party’s seats in parliament to 20, the minimum number required to form a parliamentary group and participate in elections unconditionally.

Approval before the transfer move would be a more legitimate and respectful decision because the İYİ Party had already met the necessary conditions to join the elections. The party was organized in at least half of the provinces six months ahead of election day, which is June 24. It had also convened its general assembly six months before voting day, even though it had not yet completed its provincial and district party conventions.

The Anadolu (Anatolia) Party, chaired by former CHP lawmaker Emine Ülker Tarhan, was founded on Nov. 14, 2014. The YSK approved its participation in the elections held on June 7, 2015, although it had just appointed its provincial and district chairs without holding conventions.

It would be unimaginable to prevent the İYİ Party, which has a stronger legal and political position than the Anadolu Party had from competing in the elections.

It is sad to see the YSK had hesitated on this issue.

The right to vote vs. law articles

The YSK gave a contentious decision on the unsealed votes in the referendum held on April 16, 2017. According to the electoral law, article 101/3, “ballot papers without the ballot box committee’s seal are invalid.”

However, the YSK accepted them as valid, deciding the voters should not be burdened by the fault of the ballot box committee to seal them. It put the constitutional right to vote ahead of the article of the law.

Let’s look at it from this perspective: Those in the highest ranks of the state repeatedly said the elections would be held on Nov. 3, 2019. The provisional article of the constitution pointed to the same election date.

How can a sudden decision for a snap poll prevent any political party from participating in elections under these conditions?

The sudden decision by the ruling Justice and Development Party and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) should not abolish the right of İYİ Party voters.

“The necessary condition to participate in elections should not only be based on organizational powers. A regulation preventing newly founded parties from participating in elections would lead to serious consequences. Obstructing or hampering a political party from participating in elections would damage the core of the right to vote,” the Constitutional Court said in its verdict on May 22, 1987.

Beware of history

The YSK, which allowed the Anadolu Party to participate in elections, should have approved the İYİ Party to participate with the other parties as soon as the list of parties was sent by the Supreme Court of Appeals Prosecutor’s Office.

Instead, its stance enabled those in power to say, “They should prepare for elections in the next five years.”

Because of these worries, the CHP let 15 of its deputies join the İYİ Party temporarily. And just a few hours after that move, the YSK declared that the İYİ Party was allowed to participate in elections.

Those who criticize the move of the CHP should keep in mind that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan gained his civil and political rights in 2002 with support from the CHP to change the constitution.

The right judgment can be made in accordance with the law and democracy, not with the wishes of individuals or political parties.

In the days following the military coup d’etat on May 27, 1960, one of the prominent jurists, Tahir Taner, rejected to sign a document that would obviously violate the principal of non-retroactivity.

“I am afraid of history,” he said. 

It should be jurists who are the most aware of the verdicts made in history.

Taha Akyol, hdn, Opinion, Turkey