‘Diplomatic couriers’ bring overseas votes home

‘Diplomatic couriers’ bring overseas votes home

‘Diplomatic couriers’ bring overseas votes home

As voting ends at the foreign representative offices abroad on May 9 for Türkiye’s upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections scheduled for May 14, “diplomatic couriers” has begun to bring overseas votes back to Türkiye.

Following the ballot boxes’ closure, the ballot papers were sealed and put in sacks under the supervision of a committee and observers.

The votes have begun to be transported to Türkiye by air, ballots will be held in a safe area at the ATO Congresium exhibition center in the capital Ankara. The planes host a commission, including a diplomatic courier and personnel assigned by the Supreme Election Board (YSK).

Political party representatives are also able to attend all stages as observers.

After the completion of the voting process in Türkiye on May 14, votes cast abroad will be opened together with the ones at home.

As of May 8, over 1.7 million Turks living abroad had cast their votes to elect the country’s new president and parliamentary representatives, according to YSK. This represents a significant increase from around 1.3 million ballots cast in the 2018 elections.

Turkish citizens started voting on April 27 without needing to book an appointment at designated election bureaus and border gates at 156 points across 73 countries.

Those who could not vote during the designated period in foreign representative offices can cast their ballots at 46 customs gates until May 14.

Overseas votes could prove decisive as they could contribute to up to half a percentage point in the presidential polls and potentially sway the results. The parliamentary votes, meanwhile, are distributed proportionally to the parties according to the number of voters in the provinces and the votes they receive.

The parliamentary assembly of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which will send observers to Türkiye to watch the 14 May ballots, announced that two people in the 100-person delegation were rejected by the Turkish authorities. Danish MP Soren Sondergaard and Swedish MP Kadir Kasırga were not allowed to observe the polls, OSCE said.