93 ballot boxes moved in southeastern district despite YSK decision

93 ballot boxes moved in southeastern district despite YSK decision

ŞIRNAK - Doğan News Agency
93 ballot boxes moved in southeastern district despite YSK decision

DHA photo

A total of 93 ballot boxes have been moved in Turkey’s southeastern Şırnak province despite a previous decision by the Supreme Election Board (YSK) rejecting the relocation of polling stations for security reasons ahead of the upcoming Nov. 1 snap elections.

Three neighborhoods in Şırnak’s Cizre district were designated “unsafe” for casting ballots by the district election council and a total of 93 ballot boxes were moved as a result. 

The district election council in Cizre claimed the polling stations in the Cudi, Nur and Sur neighborhoods were unfit to hold a “healthy” election because of extant barricades and ditches in the streets and avenues surrounding the schools.

Following a request to evaluate which schools would be secure locations for ballot boxes, the council decided to relocate 47 ballot boxes in Cudi, 15 ballot boxes in Sur and 31 ballot boxes in Nur. 

Meanwhile, Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) district head Ali Karadeniz argued the decision was wrong and was simply done to “torment people.”

“The Cudi neighborhood has 17,000 residents. Now, all of them will vote at the same school. This was done to torment the people,” he said, while urging citizens to vote “wherever the polling station may be.”

Karadeniz also questioned the legality of the decision which defied the latest YSK decision overruling the relocation of ballot boxes in a number of southeastern provinces. 

The issue was initially sparked in the same district, Cizre, when the district election council decided on Sept. 18 to not establish any ballot boxes in Cudi, Nur and Sur, as well as a number of local villages. The decision cited security concerns and the risk of bomb attacks during the vote as the reason to prevent voting in these areas. 

However, the decisions by the local councils were overruled by a majority of the votes at the YSK on Oct. 3. 

Six members of the YSK rejected the calls on the grounds that there was no regulation pertaining to the moving of ballot boxes for security reasons. Four YSK members who voted in favor of the relocation said the YSK was responsible for ensuring the elections were conducted in security from beginning to end and thus had the authority to move the polling stations.