Voting abroad over, turnout 36 percent

Voting abroad over, turnout 36 percent

BERLIN – Doğan News Agency
Voting abroad over, turnout 36 percent

Cihan Photo

The voting for Turkey’s June 7 general elections has ended in 54 countries with more than 1 million people voting abroad, mainly in European countries. 

The participation of Turkish citizens abroad was around 35.9 percent, with 1,031,526 out of a total 2,866,970 electorates abroad voting as part of the June 7 general elections in 54 countries at 112 voting stations set up by the Supreme Election Board. The numbers included those who voted at customs gates. 

The ballot boxes in Turkish embassies and consulates were closed as of May 31 evening, while Turkish citizens living abroad will be able to continue voting at customs gates and airports. 

Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu tweeted on June 1 the exact number of Turkish citizens who participated in the elections abroad, adding the voting will continue at customs gates and airports until 5:00 p.m. on June 7. According to the unofficial data, the total number of voters who cast their ballots in European countries was 1,027,241. 

The voting started in Germany, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France and Switzerland on May 8, while those living in Norway started voting on May 22. Voters in Bulgaria, Holland and Italy cast their ballots after May 29 while Macedonia and Greece opened their voting stations on May 30. In Sweden, polls were opened on May 31. All voting stations abroad were closed at 7:00 p.m. May 31.

Although the voting has ended abroad, the votes will not be counted until June 7. The votes from 32 missions will be transferred to Turkey via three planes hired from Turkish Airlines. Turkish political party representatives, Foreign Ministry officials and Higher Election Board officials will accompany the ballots on the planes. The ballots from the 80 others will be brought to the country via 184 diplomatic transporters. The diplomatic transporters are expected to bring all ballots to Turkey by June 3.

These ballots will be securely locked away in the abroad district election board building until June 7. They will not be opened and counted until the voting has ended in Turkey on June 7. The votes from abroad will then be counted simultaneously with the votes cast domestically. 

Elections in Turkey have the second-highest voter turnout among developed democracies, according to a report released by the Washington-based Pew Research Center.

More than 84 percent of the electorate went to the polls in the 2011 general election, according to the report comparing turnout rates in Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) member states.

The upcoming June elections will elect 550 members of the Turkish parliament from 20 political parties. This will be the country’s 25th general election.