CHP MP urges Turkish PM for donation transparency
Presidential candidate Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu (2nd L, back to camera) is surrounded by the media during a news conference to start his election campaign.Each presidential candidate should officially and regularly report donations they receive while electioneering, a lawmaker from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has
The public is demanding transparency in the run-up to the country’s first-ever direct presidential elections, CHP Bursa deputy Aykan Erdemir said at a press conference he held at Parliament on July 11, noting Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu and Selahattin Demirtaş, the two candidates from the opposition camp, have so far responded positively to this demand, pledging they will announce donations to their campaigns.
However, presidential hopeful Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has not yet given a positive response to this demand, Erdemir said.
“I wonder if the third candidate has something to fear, to hesitate and to worry about so that he cannot make any commitment to sharing his donations with the public? Erdoğan should announce the donations in the shortest amount of time, so he rescues himself and his campaign from the shame of being the sole candidate who does not make an announcement,” Erdemir said.
The lawmaker, also a member of Parliament’s EU Harmonization Commission and of the Turkey-EU Joint Parliamentary Committee, emphasized transparency should not depend up candidates’ personal initiatives. A legal framework should be set and announcing donations should not be postponed to the post-election period as it has been the case in practice, Erdemir said.
From now on, each candidate should present weekly reports and officially make the donations they receive public, he said.
While Erdoğan is running as his ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) presidential election candidate and Peoples’ Democracy Party (HDP) co-leader Selahattin Demirtaş is running as his party’s candidate, İhsanoğlu has been nominated by the two major opposition parties at Parliament, the main opposition CHP and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), and is also being supported by five minor political parties that are not represented at Parliament.
The elections will be held in two-rounds, the first scheduled for Aug. 10 and the second for Aug. 24. A candidate needs to receive at least 50 percent plus one vote to outright win in the first round of the elections.
As of July 11, both Erdoğan and Demirtaş have announced bank accounts for those willing to donate to their campaign.
Only natural persons who are citizens of the Republic of Turkey can make donations. According to the law, the
highest amount of donations one person can make for each round is set at 9,082 Turkish Liras and 51 kuruş.
EU progress report
The financing of political parties needs to be addressed, including provisions on prohibited funding sources, donation ceilings, and obligations on candidates to disclose assets and submit financial information during a campaign, said the European Commission in its regular annual progress report on full membership candidate Turkey, which was released in the autumn of 2013.