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Congress President calls on the Turkish authorities to guarantee the electoral process for the repeated elections in Istanbul

Presidency Strasbourg, France 6 May 2019
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Congress President calls on the Turkish authorities to guarantee the electoral process for the repeated elections in Istanbul

Following the decision by the Supreme Election Council of Turkey to call for repeat elections in Istanbul on 23 June 2019, Anders Knape, the President of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, has stressed the need to restore the safeguards of the electoral process for preventing a deep crisis of confidence of the Turkish voters in the State authorities.

“Repeating elections is an extraordinary measure and must be well-founded and substantiated in a transparent and impartial process, bearing in mind that all the necessary conditions for free and fair elections must be verified prior to the Election Day, as stipulated by international principles, – and not afterwards”, the President stated.

“Regarding the main argument brought forward by the AK Party on ineligible voters, the Turkish Election Law has clear deadlines for lodging appeals against the voter registration process. The objections made by the ruling party against the voters’ lists of certain Istanbul districts, on the ground of alleged irregularities, came after the legal deadline. This is contrary to our understanding of a democratic fair play in elections”, he underlined.

“The fact that these late objections eventually have led to the decision by the Supreme Election Council to repeat the elections in Istanbul runs counter the international principle of ensuring a reliable and stable legal framework for elections and has the potential to severely damage the trust of the Turkish voters in the electoral authorities. This is the real concern that we from the Congress associate with the forthcoming repeat elections”, Knape made clear.

“This situation is aggravated by reports we have received about pressure exerted by the Government on the Supreme Election Council to rule in favour of a rerun of the local elections in Istanbul. All the developments after the 31 March elections taken together, we face the repeat elections in Istanbul with great concern and urge the Turkish authorities to do their utmost to restore the safeguards of the electoral process”, concluded the President of the Congress.

 

See also: Observation of the local elections in Turkey - 2019