Election board eases voting abroad system after criticism
Oya ARMUTÇU ANKARA
AA PhotoTurkey’s Supreme Election Board (YSK) has decided on taking a U-turn from the “appointment system” implemented for the first time in foreign countries at the country’s debut popular presidential polls following a low turnout and reactions by the government.
The YSK chose to oblige Turkish citizens abroad to make appointments for their voting times at particular spots assigned by the country. However, only a total of 232,000 Turkish citizens voted at the ballot boxes overseas at the presidential elections over the weekend, falling behind a nearly 2.8 million eligible votes.
In the parliamentary elections next year, Turkish citizens living abroad will be able to vote at Turkish embassies or sites decided by the envoys. However, an appointment will not be needed.
Ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) officials, including Prime Minister and president-elect Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had bashed the YSK officials for a strict implementation of the appointment system, which they blame for the low voter turnout, despite the high expenditures.
“Unfortunately, [the low turnout abroad] stems from the YSK. They came up with something called an appointment; this appointment thing turned everything upside and down. Would a citizen go out of their way to get an appointment?” Erdoğan said during a broadcasted interview on Aug. 4.