Turkish gov't to change regulation on appointment of ballot box committee

The ruling Justice and Development Party proposes the regulation on the appointment of ballot box committee for the agenda. The regulation had gotten harsh criticism by the opposition
Monday, 11 December 2017 21:23

The two controversial regulations, which were aimed to be passed into law within the Law on the Supreme Committee of Elections (YSK), have been submitted to the Turkish Parliament by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

The opposition had managed to restrain the government’s plans after severely criticised the regulation that the AKP wanted to put it into the relevant draft law changing Turkey’s top electoral board in November 2017. The Turkish government will directly put the regulations on presiding officers and electoral observers into the adjustment law, according to the new draft.

The regulation, which puts an end to the condition of being party representatives for presiding officers and which imposes the obligation to be a civil servant for them, has become a problem between the government and the opposition, Hurriyet Daily News reported. The Turkish government had made more difficult to be a political party election observer with another provision within the context of the adjustment law. With this provision, political parties and independent candidates were obliged to submit the photographed observer cards of electoral observers, which are twice the number of ballot boxes, to district election boards.

Yet, this provision had been withdrawn by the AKP government due to severe reactions from the opposition parties. The draft law changing the organisation and duties of the YSK had become law without these provisions on November 21, 2017.

However, plans of the ruling AKP has not changed. Turkish government aims to include the relevant two regulations in the elections law within the context of the adjustment law. Accordingly, the regulation, which makes being a political party election observer more difficult, will be transferred to the harmonisation package. In addition to this, the obligation of being a civil servant for presiding officers will be enacted.

The opposition claims that the ruling AKP’s attempt to change the regulation on the appointment of ballot box committee aimed at preventing the political parties from controlling the polls except the political power. On the other hand, Turkish government asserts that this regulation would remove the pressure of [Kurdish separatist militia] the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is deemed a terrorist organisation by the Turkish state, on the polls especially in the Eastern and Southeastern Anatolia.