CHP slams election board for controversial decision
ANKARA, April 16, 2017
The main opposition party leader accused the election watchdog of violating laws and therefore making the referendum equivocal while stressing that almost half of the Turkish people was against the charter amendments even though constitutions should reflect a national consensus.
“The Supreme Council of Elections made this referendum disputable,” Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, head of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) told reporters at the main opposition party headquarters late yesterday.
Noting that the election watchdog breached two main principles of the Election Law by accepting voting papers unofficially sealed, Kılıçdaroğlu stressed, “We don’t find it right, we don’t accept this.” “The rules cannot be changed while a match is being played. But the YSK has changed the rules right after the polls were closed,” he stressed. The CHP leader also said that the tight results show that there is no social consensus on the new charter, making a call to make a charter accepted by broader portions of the Turkish society.
The CHP said it will object to the referendum results on the grounds that the vote for the constitutional amendment was manipulated terms of content and method. “Since the morning there has been serious chaos all over Turkey. The Supreme Board of Elections [YSK] has declared that the board will deem ballots without official seals as valid,” CHP deputy leader Erdal Aksünger said, promising to lodge an objection.
“They canceled ballots without seals in voting abroad. It was the same board that did this,” Aksünger said, promising to lodge an objection. Aksünger said his party received information regarding claims that there was a misuse of documents with signatures, criticizing the YSK’s decision that deemed ballots without YSK seals on them to be valid.
“Besides, there were two different types of stamps; one said ‘choice,’ the others said ‘yes’ on them. It is a reason in itself to cancel the vote,” he said, adding that there was many violations. “In eastern and southeastern cities, the election observers from the ‘no’ groups were removed from their polling stations. There were many violations in terms of the form of the elections. There were people who voted outside booths, violating the secret ballot rule. There were people who went to the ballot boxes with their village heads; these are all violations,” he added. “Overall, there is a very serious manipulation here. Now, I am looking at the official results of the YSK, which states that 90 percent of the ballot boxes were opened. But state-run Anadolu Agency said 99 percent of the ballot boxes were opened. This is a clear manipulation,” he said, arguing that the news agency manipulated the results of the referendum before the official results were announced.
The YSK, however, stated on its website that unless there was proof that ballots and envelopes were brought from outside, they would be accepted as valid. YSK chairman Sadi Güven defended the practice in a press conference late on April 16, saying that similar practices were held in previous elections. The Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), which focuses on the Kurdish issue, also announced that the party would object to the results. “Irrespective of the ‘yes’ or ‘no’ victory, we will object to two thirds of the ballots. The information we have received indicates a 3 to 4 percent manipulation,” the HDP announced through their official Twitter account on late April 16. Former Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) lawmaker Meral Akşener, who split with her party’s leadership months ahead of the vote to campaign for the “no” vote, also criticized the YSK’s decisions. “About the voting papers without the YSK seals; it is a scandal! It is a scandal that the YSK has announced that they will deem it valid.
Two of our lawmaker friends are making the necessary appeals,” Akşener said in a televised interview on private broadcaster Fox TV late April 16. Akşener also stated that the state-run agency’s results indicated a manipulation.
Turkey’s Supreme Election Board says unsealed ballot papers accepted in vote
ANKARA, Monday April 17, 2017
The Supreme Election Board (YSK) controversially announced on April 16 that it would accept unsealed ballot papers in the voting for the constitutional referendum.
The YSK stated on its website that unless there is no proof that ballot papers and envelopes are brought from outside, they will be accepted as valid.
The YSK said it made the decision after a meeting based following a high number of complaints regarding unsealed ballot papers.
“The counting process should be done according to this decision,” it added.
The YSK’s decision received harsh criticism from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), which campaigned for a “no” vote, with its deputy leader Bülent Tezcan saying the board should “correct its mistake.”
“We expect the YSK to immediately correct its mistake and at least take steps that would create the opinion that elections are being held under judicial guarantee,” Tezcan told journalists in a press meeting at the party’s headquarters, adding that the YSK “failed in the processes of casting votes and counting them.”
“What we are saying is that the YSK is paving the way for us to enter an unfortunate period that accepts the principle of elections under judicial manipulation rather than elections under judicial supervision. The decision that the YSK made after the voting began will open the reliability of the elections to question. Elections will face a serious legitimacy problem. The YSK changed the rules after voting began,” he said.