OSCE report on June 2011 elections published

OSCE report on June 2011 elections published

ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
OSCE report on June 2011 elections published

An election official reaches into a ballot box to retrieve votes ahead of counting. AA photo

OSCE, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe have recently published their report on the elections in Turkey that took place in June 2011.

Turkey’s June elections demonstrated commitment to democracy, but freedom of expression and electoral rights remain limited, concludes ODIHR’s final report.

The report states that June 12 parliamentary elections in Turkey demonstrated a broad commitment to holding democratic elections but the Constitution and implementing legislation continue to unduly limit freedom of expression, freedom of association and electoral rights.

The existence of solid institutions and experience in holding democratic elections is clear, but the need to ensure the equality of vote weight among constituencies, to lift certain existing restrictions on suffrage rights, as well as to enhance transparency in the electoral complaints and appeals process is there, the report reveals.

The report further notes that the legal framework provides a comprehensive basis for the conduct of elections. Significant changes to election-related laws, with some amendments relating to previous OSCE/ODIHR recommendations, improved the overall framework for the conduct of elections.

Some of the points of concern in the report follows the lack clarity and uniformity in legaslation, which creates the potential for its inconsistent application and arbitrary interpretation, and fails to provide for observation of the electoral process by international and domestic civil society organizations. 

According to the report, the campaign was lively, and the level of electoral participation was impressive both during the campaign and on election day. Concerns were, however, expressed with regard to the legislative limitations on freedom of expression, a high number of arrested and convicted journalists, and the alleged control exercised by the government over some influential media.

The report adds that several parties voluntarily introduced measures to encourage involvement of women as candidates, which resulted in the representation of women in the parliament increasing from 9.1 per cent in 2007 to 14 per cent in the new legislature.