Polls should be held on time, no postponement needed: Opposition

Polls should be held on time, no postponement needed: Opposition

Polls should be held on time, no postponement needed: Opposition

The opposition parties have underlined the constitutional obligation to hold the presidential and parliamentary elections latest on June 18 after a senior former ruling party official has suggested that the elections should be postponed due to the devastating earthquakes.

Bülent Arınç, one of the founders of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) who had served as Parliament Speaker, deputy Prime Minister and Justice Minister in different governments under the leadership of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan since 2002, made a written statement late on Feb. 13 and suggested the postponement of the polls.

“On these days when we are suffering from our history’s perhaps most painful disaster, it is a must that our country should immediately get rid of the election stress. To put it more openly, no elections can be held in May or June. They should be postponed,” he said.

The current government’s five-year term is ending in June and Erdoğan had declared May 14 is the best day to hold the simultaneous presidential and parliamentary polls. Erdoğan has not made any comment on the elections after the two quakes hit Türkiye’s 10 provinces in the southern Anatolian region.

Arınç said it will be impossible for the Supreme Election Board (YSK) to update the electoral lists and prepare conditions for safe elections in these 10 provinces that send 85 deputies to the Parliament. He, however, advised President Erdoğan to consult with the leaders of the political parties for postponing the polls.

But the opposition is firmly against this idea. “The constitution is very clear. Polls can be postponed only during war. So, as we are not in a war, the polls cannot be postponed,” Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the leader of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) said, in an interview with Yetkin Report news portal.

Türkiye is suffering from a major earthquake and there is an ongoing internal migration from the earthquake-hit area to other regions, Kılıçdaroğlu said, “But these hurdles can be overcome thanks to the technological means.”

The CHP leader suggested that those who left their homes can transfer their addresses through e-state and can cast their votes, adding “When the election day is set, the YSK should begin its works, resolve all these issues and prepare the electoral lists. If the polls will take place in May, then we have three months; if polls will be in June then we have more than four months. The YSK can perfectly do its job in this period.”

Deputy leader of the Good (İYİ) Party Kürşad Zorlu also rejected the idea of postponing the elections. “Our party’s fundamental approach is to hold the polls on time,” he said on Twitter.