Turkey’s opposition parties cooperate on election security

Turkey’s opposition parties cooperate on election security

Opposition parties are closely cooperating to maintain ballot box security in the snap elections on June 24, top sources told the Hürriyet Daily News. The sources did not want to be named or disclose details about cooperation, but one ranking campaign team member of an opposition party said the cooperation “started with sharing voter data at as many ballot boxes as possible.”

The cooperation is ongoing between the social democratic main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), the right-wing Good (İYİ) Party, the conservative Felicity (Saadet) Party, and the smaller Democrat Party (DP), which are in an alliance for the parliamentary elections to be held on the same day as the presidential election. The Kurdish problem-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), which is not a member of the alliance, is also involved in ballot box security cooperation.

“As opposition parties we are concerned that there could be ballot box security problems sourcing from the government bloc,” one source stated, referring to the alliance between President Tayyip Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Parti), the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and the nationalist/conservative Greater Unity Party (BBP). “We believe the free will of the people must show itself in the elections by taking democratic measures, such as being careful in the casting and counting of votes.”

Meanwhile, experienced pollster Bekir Ağırdır, head of the top polling company KONDA told daily Cumhuriyet on May 11 that there was a considerable possibility of presidential elections not being completed in the first round. “The 2017 referendum for presidential powers was carried out under the state of emergency with little coverage of the ‘No’ campaign against Erdoğan in the media, and with no joint rhetoric or strategy in the ‘No’ campaign. However, the result was a very narrow win for the ‘Yes’ campaign. If the opposition bloc can develop meaningful strategies, that balance could turn the other way around.”

Ağırdır also noted that for the first time since the 2002 elections in which the AK Parti won a victory, Erdoğan and his party are in a “defensive rhetoric,” which is a “disadvantage because the AK Parti does not know how to develop defensive positions.” Despite having less public support, the opposition parties currently have more confidence. “For the time being control seems to be in the hands of the opposition parties,” Ağırdır claimed.

He thinks that if Erdoğan is not elected in the first round on June 24, the second round on July 8 will most likely be between Erdoğan and the CHP’s Muharrem İnce. Ağırdır said the rising popularity of İYİ Party leader Meral Akşener slowed down after İnce was announced as the CHP’s choice, but both Akşener and İnce have pledged that they would support each other if the presidential election goes to a second round between the top two candidates. In the event of such a second round, Ağırdır said, HDP voters are likely to determine the final result.

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