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May 15 2019

Electoral roll intact for Istanbul rerun - Turkey’s election board

Turkey’s top election body said on Wednesday that voter registration will remain unchanged for the Istanbul mayoral election rerun on June 23, Anadolu Agency reported.

“Anybody who had the right to vote on March 31 will have the right to vote on June 23 in the Istanbul election rerun,” Sadi Güven, head of the Supreme Election Council (YSK), told reporters in response to reports that some voters had been added or removed from the electoral registers. 

Last week, the YSK annulled the Istanbul vote, upon the appeal of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), which demanded fresh elections citing serious irregularities in electoral records and procedures.

The AKP received a major blow on March 31, as the opposition candidate Ekrem İmamoğlu declared victory in Istanbul with a very small margin, signalling the end of 25-year rule of the AKP and its predecessors in Turkey’s financial powerhouse. 

This week many voters in Istanbul, including journalists Rahşan Gülşan and Emin Çapa, said they could not find their names in electoral rolls when they searched the YSK website. 

“According to the YSK website, we are not voters. As we did before every election, we checked our record via the internet, but this time me and my wife were not on voter list,” Çapa told Cumhuriyet newspaper on Tuesday. 

Güven said that the YSK website showed updated electoral registers and people probably could not see themselves as they changed addresses or moved outside Istanbul after March 31 elections. The head of the YSK said that, as of Wednesday, Istanbul voters would be able to see the electoral roll for the June 23 election, including the balloting centres where they would cast their vote.

“Only the balloting committees will change in election rerun. That is as a result of the decision we made. There will be no other changes,” Güven said. 

The AKP said in its appeal that the Istanbul result should be annulled, as some people appointed to certify ballots were not public servants, as required by electoral law.