The bill on alliances and electoral legislation was accepted unamended at the Parliamentary Constitutional Sub-Commission. Debate on the bill will start at the senior commission on 5 March. In the course of debate on the bill, comments by AKP and MHP MPs along with Justice Ministry and Supreme Election Council representatives betrayed the basic purpose for which the bill had been proposed.
The MHP’s Mehmet Parsak, responding to criticism that regulations had been made to favour parties forming alliances and this situation was contrary to the equality principle, said that under electoral legislation that entered into force following the 12 September coup the attempt was made to keep National View and the nationalist movement out of parliament. Parsak, responding to criticism that there was no example in any country of the alliance system being introduced under the bill, commented, “We have not taken anything from any country and applied the same like-for-like to ourselves because we are the Turkish people and we are governing the Turkish state in the Turkish country. We have conditions peculiar to us and we have taken account of needs in this regard. We have taken an approach that does not steer far from our political realities, either, when it comes to the threshold and assigning seats to parties under the alliance.” The CHP’s Fatma Kaplan Hürriyet, in turn, said that the ten per cent electoral threshold had been introduced following 12 September and both parties were standing up for coup implementations.
People in the same building at different ballot boxes
The CHP’s Murat Emir, addressing the sub-commission during the debate, inquired as to the reason for distributing residents of the same building among different ballot boxes. The Justice Ministry representative Deputy General Director of Statutes Hakan Şeker, stating that information coming from the police was that in a certain part of the country votes in certain ballot boxes had been cast in their entirety for one party, said that the chair and five party members at these ballot boxes were implicated in this impropriety and deliberately did not report this impropriety to the law enforcement agencies. With Emir inquiring as to whether, if there was impropriety, legal action had been taken and whether any follow-up had been conducted into the 961 ballot boxes which yielded nothing but “yes” votes in the referendum, Supreme Election Council Deputy Electoral Roll Director Ayhan Okurer sufficed with saying, “We had no such follow-up proceedings into ballot boxes which yielded “yes” or “no” in block form.”
Wish for voters not to know one another
The AKP’s Sub-Commission Chair Abdurrahman Öz, recalling that when citizens checked their own electoral roll they also saw their neighbours’ particulars, said, “When I personally check my own electoral roll, when we are at the same ballot box, say a neighbour living in the same building has changed their surname, there is a situation relating to private law. You even see and look at this on the same list – there is somebody with a different surname, or this or that. So, of necessity you find out about other people’s particulars relating to private law, but when there is mixing within the same electoral region, there is a situation in which nobody knows anybody.”
With the CHP’s Fatma Kaplan Hürriyet saying with reference to the AKP’s Abdurrahman Öz’s comments, “Let them not know one another, you mean,” the CHP’s Murat Emir retorted, “This is a bit like a confession.” However, Öz did not reply to these comments.
AKP and MHP in the majority on committees
The HDP’s Erol Dora, criticising the regulation whereby polling committee chairs would be appointed from among public servants by sub-province electoral board chairs, said polling committees consisted of seven people and the AKP and MHP aimed to attain a majority on polling committees through this regulation.
Dora expressed the view, “When the polling committee chair, a public servant who can be expected to be close to the political rulership and one civil servant member are calculated along with the AKP and MHP polling committee members, a majority will have been attained on polling committees through this regulation and this may give rise to the suspicion that all decisions, voting procedures, vote counting and recording procedures, potential disputes over slips and similar circumstances will be concluded such that they benefit the ruling or alliance party.”
Advantage confessed to