HDP applies to election board for Demirtaş’s participation in rallies
ANKARA – Anadolu Agency
The Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) on June 14 applied to the Supreme Board of Elections (YSK) and the Justice Ministry for permission to allow the presidential candidate Selahattin Demirtaş hold election rallies in Istanbul, the western province of İzmir, and the southeastern provinces of Gaziatep and Mardin.
The petition submitted by lawyer Günizi Satar said Demirtaş’s continued imprisonment “prevented the equal participation” of presidential candidates in the election campaign, thereby violating the constitution.
The HDP candidate’s “voiced or videoconferencing campaign appearances on radio and TVs are not enough” for the principle of equality to be fulfilled, the petition stated.
“Selahattin Demirtaş will be able to meet with voters during the campaign period only twice, through the [state-run TV] TRT. It is important for the principle of free elections and equality to be de facto executed,” it added.
The petition requested that Demirtaş be present in person at the rallies but if that was not possible he could take part by video link.
The YSK previously granted Demirtaş permission to campaign through audio-visual material to appear on the state broadcaster TRT. He will therefore have the right to deliver two 10-minute speeches to be aired on TV before the June 24 snap elections.
As Demirtaş is currently imprisoned in a prison in the northwestern province of Edirne, the procedure for the recording of his speech will mark a first in Turkish elections. It will be recorded by TRT personnel under the supervision of a member of the YSK, though how the recording will take place has yet to be determined.
The recording could take place in Edirne Prison, though the HDP has requested special permission to be granted for Demirtaş to attend a recording at the TRT studios in the capital Ankara.