Ruling AKP's demand for list of ballot box clerks raises election fraud concerns
The demand from the AKP officials reportedly constitutes a crime under the Turkish Electoral Law.An incident in Istanbul in which executives of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) were involved has fueled concerns over the credibility of Turkey's upcoming local elections, scheduled for March 30.
AKP executives appealed to Election Board in Istanbul and asked for a list of the monitors who will be on duty at ballot boxes on March 30, daily newspaper Taraf reported on March 21. Election Board officials, however, reportedly refused the demand, saying this would constitute a crime.
Upon this refusal, AKP executives asked Istanbul National Education Directorate to hand over the list. The Istanbul National Education Directorate then sent letters titled “urgent” to schools in Istanbul, demanding a list of all principals and teachers who would be working at the ballot boxes during local elections.
The letter, dated March 19, was obtained by Taraf, and the lists were eventually sent to the Directorate.
However, the Election Board subsequently notified the National Education Directorate of the fact that what they did was a crime. Directorate officials then wrote new letters to the same schools, informing them that they had given up their earlier demand.
The incident raised further question marks as to whether public servants would be pressured, or whether preparations for fraud are been underway. Anonymous officials from the Supreme Election Board (YSK) told Taraf that the issue was being closely monitored, while also underlining that they had been conducting a hectic preparation for securing a credible election.