Turkey on alert for upcoming local elections
İZMİR - Anadolu Agency
Turkey has been on the alert to have a peaceful and democratic atmosphere for the March 31 local elections, the Turkish Interior Minister said on Jan. 26.
Süleyman Soylu said that Turkish Interior Ministry is generally on the alert as it started to take measures to ensure a peaceful atmosphere during the elections.
"Now our camera systems and generators are maintained and controlled. In fact new generators and lighting equipment are bought," Soylu said.
He was in western province of İzmir to attend a provincial election safety program.
The interior minister said the elections are not conducted using digital tools as voting so the manual process eliminate all doubts over the results.
He said that they won't allow anyone to manipulate the election results on social media.
"We will also take measures against persons, who tries manipulate election results by speculating or provoking people on social media," Soylu said, adding the government is forming teams to fight against cybercrimes.
The interior minister has been attending election safety programs to aware people about safety measures taken by the government. Previously, he also visited Black Sea, Mediterranean, east, southeast and central regions of Turkey.
More than 57 million Turkish citizens are registered to vote at the local elections slated for March 31, the head of the country’s electoral authority said earlier this week.
The preliminary preparations for the local elections are almost complete and the current number of voters in Turkey is 57,970,985, Sadi Guven, head of the Supreme Election Council, told Anadolu Agency.
In response to claims that Syrians in Turkey will vote in the polls, Guven said it is not possible for those who are not Turkish citizens to cast a vote.
Last week, Soylu had said a total of 53,099 Syrians who have acquired Turkish citizenship will be able to vote in local elections.
He said 553,000 security staff -- including the coast guard -- will be on duty to ensure safety during the election. Turkey had assigned 6,680 additional security personnel in 11 provinces and 12 districts to guard against any threats by the terrorist PKK to people's right to vote.
Nearly 56,495 voter registrations were frozen due to wrong declaration of permanent residence, Guven continued.
A total of 6,000 registered voters were removed from the voter list due to death, he added.
A total of 13 political parties will compete in the local elections.
Turkish local polls are held every five years to elect mayors of 30 metropolitan municipalities and 51 provincial municipalities.
Turkish local polls are held every five years to elect mayors of 1,398 municipalities across the country. Among them are municipalities in 81 provinces, including 30 metropolitan municipalities and 921 districts.
Voters will also elect municipal council members in cities and -- in rural areas -- muhtars and members of elder councils.
The official election process kicked off in Jan. 1, with campaigning to begin on March 21.
Election campaigning will end on the evening of March 30, a day before the election.
The ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party and opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) agreed to support each other’s candidates in some districts and provinces, while the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Good (IYI) Party made same arrangement.
The last local elections were held on March 30, 2014, which saw the AK Party clinch more than 45.5 percent of the vote.
The last elections in Turkey were presidential and parliamentary elections which were held on June 24, 2018.