All sides in rush to meet Turkey’s tight snap election calendar

All sides in rush to meet Turkey’s tight snap election calendar

Nuray Babacan - ANKARA
All sides in rush to meet Turkey’s tight snap election calendar

Accelerated efforts are needed to be ready for surprise early presidential and parliamentary elections in Turkey, scheduled to be held on June 24, as three vital issues need to be resolved in just 64 days.

The Supreme Board of Election (YSK) will need to update its systems for election alliances, recently allowed through a law approved by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), which have already announced they will form an alliance.

All political parties that will run in the election will have less than two months to choose their candidates, both for presidency and the parliamentary seats.

In addition, parliament will need to approve adjustment laws regarding the elections and political parties for them to become compatible with the executive presidential system. The adjustment laws will also clarify how independent candidates will be able to run in the presidential election.

Due to the tight schedule, the adjustments may be made through government state of emergency decrees to speed up the process, according to some AKP officials.

According to the regulations the AKP wants to introduce, a presidential candidate will not be allowed to run for a parliamentary seat as both elections will be held together. A mechanism to validate the 100,000 signatures needed to run as an independent will also be created.

Political parties that have at least 20 lawmakers will be able to propose a candidate through a parliamentary group decision. Parties that received at least 5 percent of the votes in the most recent general election, or alliances that bring together parties with a total vote of 5 percent, will also be able to name presidential candidates.

Every party will be able to name one candidate, without the possibility of nominating another name if the declared candidate dies or steps down before the election.

The adjustment laws will also detail how election alliances will be formed and what the YSK’s responsibilities in the process will be.

The YSK will therefore have a lot of preparation to complete before polling day and is already working to update technical systems to include election alliances. Ballot papers will feature allied parties under the alliance’s name and ballot box report papers will have a special section including the total votes of the alliances.

A commission will be formed in the YSK to prepare software to check the 100,000 signatures needed to nominate independent presidential candidates, while a new calculation system for alliances and measures for ballot box security will also be decided by the commission.

Party headquarters will also be busy until polling day, with parties having to put preparations for the March 2019 local elections on hold to focus on the early presidential and general elections. Parties will have to swiftly prepare lists of candidates for parliamentary seats, narrowing down the procedures that they used in the past.

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