Meeting in session on 30 October 2019, the members of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe adopted a report on the local elections in Turkey (31 March 2019) and the Istanbul repeat mayoral election (23 June 2019), following observation missions led by the Congress. The debate was held in the presence of the Mayor of Istanbul Ekrem İMAMOĞLU.
Presented by Congress Rapporteur Andrew DAWSON (United Kingdom, ECR), the report states that, overall, the two polls were conducted in order and were administered satisfactorily, with a remarkably high turnout. Overall, the polling station commissions (CBV) performed their technical and procedural tasks competently.
However, the adopted recommendation points to several necessary improvements. Apart from the equal playing field for all parties and candidates, the most urgent reform steps include the Supreme Election Council (SEC) of Turkey, against whose decisions no appeal is possible. The Congress calls on the Turkish authorities to clarify the electoral legislation and to harmonise all election laws in order to give them a coherent framework. It also recommends the removal of overly restrictive limitations of freedoms of association, assembly and expression in order to re-establish an environment fully conducive to genuinely democratic elections.