Party schisms emerge over poll safety for Nov 1
AA photoThe Justice and Development Party (AKP) has spilt into two camps over the continuing debate on whether the Supreme Election Board (YSK) had the authority to decide on the relocation of ballot boxes, while a key figure in the Republican People’s Party (CHP) has backed AKP Deputy Head Mehmet Ali Şahin’s suggestion that the YSK does not hold such authority.
One day after Şahin said the YSK does not have authority to decide on the moving of ballot boxes to other villages or neighborhoods before a legal regulation is passed, AKP Spokesperson Ömer Çelik claimed in a written statement that it did, citing various similar previous decisions from both district election boards and the YSK.
“What is important here is whether there is a justification for such a decision … Because the constitution and the law is not an obstacle to such a decision,” Çelik added.
On the same day, Parliamentary Spokesperson İsmet Yılmaz said it was the YSK’s decision to determine where ballot boxes will be set up and this is being done.
“Is it in line with democracy when [ballot boxes] are 10 meters from your house but not in line with democracy when they are 50 meters away?” Yılmaz told state-run Anadolu Agency on Oct. 2.
Meanwhile, Republican People’s Party (CHP) Secretary-General Gürsel Tekin said Şahin’s suggestion that the YSK does not have the authority to move polling stations was “correct.”
“I congratulate Mehmet Ali Şahin on his status as a legal expert. There is, for the first time, a correct voice from the AKP,” Tekin told the Hürriyet Daily News on Oct. 2.
“I agree with what [he] said. The constitution is clear. The YSK cannot take such a decision,” he added.
Şahin said on Oct. 1 that the YSK did not have the authority to decide whether ballot boxes could be moved to another place.
“Does the YSK have the right [to decide not to set up ballot boxes]? In my opinion it does not, as I believe the YSK cannot take such a decision without a legal regulation being made,” Şahin said during a televised show on state-run broadcaster TRT Haber.
Şahin said the YSK was responsible for securing the elections, which would require appropriate regulations.
The YSK will make a final decision on earlier decisions taken by a number of local election councils in eastern and southeastern Anatolia to not conduct voting in certain neighborhoods due to security concerns, amid deadly violence between security forces and militants of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
“I await with curiosity to see how the YSK will make the decision,” Şahin said.
New rulings from local election authorities continue to be made about the moving of ballot boxes ahead of the Nov. 1 snap election.
The latest was made by the district election board in the eastern province of Batman’s city center. The Oct. 1 decision stated that a total of 170 ballot boxes in 15 neighborhoods would not be set up due to security concerns.
The 170 ballot boxes that would have been in 26 schools in Batman’s city center will instead be combined with ballot boxes in eight neighborhoods elsewhere in the province, according to the ruling.