Free elections are now a dream
The measures contained in the “alliance bill” that the AKP and MHP brought to the General Assembly of Parliament at midnight and was adopted among brawling spell the end for a democratic election.
The bill adopted in the General Assembly of Parliament contains measures aimed at ensuring victory for the AKP and MHP, which will form an alliance in the 2019 elections. The ten per cent threshold will not be applied to parties that form alliances and the alliance’s total vote will be taken into account in applying the threshold. Polling committee chairs will be appointed from among public servants and envelopes and ballot slips lacking the polling committee stamp will be deemed valid. The bill that the AKP and MHP worked through the night to pass through parliament envisages the following measures:
Dispersal among ballot boxes: Voters living in the same building will be registered in different polling areas on condition that household integrity is preserved and they remain in the same electoral area. The Supreme Election Council (SEC) will determine the number of voters per ballot box depending on the type of election.
Ballot boxes may be moved: If the provincial governor or provincial electoral board chair so request on electoral security grounds at least one month prior to the polling day, the SEC may decide for the ballot boxes in that place to be moved to the nearest electoral area, for electoral areas to be combined or for electoral areas to be combined with the exception of headperson elections and for voters rolls to be drawn up in mixed form.
Mobile ballot boxes: Mobile ballot boxes will be set up to enable voters who are bedridden due to illness or incapacity to vote apart from in headship elections.
AKP-MHP majority at polling stations: Polling committee chairs will be appointed from among public servants by the sub-provincial electoral board chair. To this end, a list of all public servants serving in the sub-province on the basis of their residential addresses will be sent by the civil service administrator to sub-provincial electoral board chairs. The sub-provincial electoral board chair will select from among these public servants by drawing lots double the number of public servants needed as polling committee chairs and those from among these people who are not barred will be appointed polling committee chairs. One member apart from the polling committee members nominated by political parties will also be nominated from among public servants. In this way, there will be an AKP and MHP majority at polling stations.
Two slips in a single envelope: In presidential and parliamentary elections, ballot slips will be placed in the same envelope. In local elections, too, all ballot slips will be cast in a single envelope. In this way, alliance-voting AKP and MHP voters will be prompted to vote for Erdoğan in the presidential election. The dimensions of the envelope and ballot box aperture and the measurements and standards pertaining to booths will be determined by the SEC.
Police in the vicinity of ballot boxes: As the regulation providing for a “ballot-box area” defined as “the area within a 100-metre diameter of the place where the ballot box is located” has been repealed, law enforcement forces will be able to approach as far as the door to the ballot-box setting. The ballot-box setting is defined as, “The room or section in which the ballot box is placed and the polling committee serves or the place set up for this purpose.” Alongside the polling committee chair, voters may also summon law enforcement forces into the ballot-box setting citing disturbance of the order in the ballot-box vicinity through the use of force, violence or threat.
Everything to favour the alliance: Parties qualifying to contest the election may form an alliance under a protocol. Parties that form an alliance will be entered side-by-side under the “alliance” section on ballot slips and will have separate lists of parliamentary candidates. The stamp applied in any part of the alliance column will be deemed to be valid. Stamps applied outside sections devoted to parties or the area in which the alliance’s name is entered or in the exact middle between the two parties will be deemed to be votes for the alliance. Shared votes will be distributed according to the share of the vote obtained by the parties. Seats will be allocated to parties along with the alliance in accordance with the proportional representation system (D’Hondt method). The number of seats obtained by the alliance will then be distributed among the parties making up the alliance also in accordance with their share of the vote and by the D’Hondt method. Since the number of seats obtained by the alliance will be calculated first, parties forming an alliance may obtain more seats than normal.
No threshold for the alliance: The ten per cent threshold will not be applied individually to alliance-forming parties. The total vote obtained by the alliance will be taken into account in applying the threshold. This means that, while a party that gets five per cent of the vote can enter parliament if it forms an alliance, a party that remains below the threshold with 9.99% will not be represented in parliament.
Unstamped ballot slips are valid: Envelopes and ballot slips having the SEC watermark will be deemed valid even if they do not have the polling committee stamp on the rear.
Candidacy for another party enabled: One political party will be able to field parliamentary candidates on another political party’s list. To this end, the ban on political parties supporting another political party in elections or a party member standing as a candidate for another party has been lifted.
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