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Turkish parliament passes controversial electoral overhaul

Europe
13.03.2018
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Istanbul (dpa) - The Turkish parliament on Tuesday passed a controversial package of sweeping changes to Turkey‘s electoral laws that, critics argue, could lead to fraud in critical presidential elections due in November 2019.

The change allows political parties to form alliances, which would help smaller parties bypass a 10-per-cent electoral threshold.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan‘s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) will likely benefit most from this change.

The two parties earlier formed an alliance that means the MHP would gain seats in the parliament even if it fails to pass the 10-per-cent threshold, while allowing Erdogan to consolidate his power.

The MHP had backed Erdogan‘s bid to expand presidential powers in a knife-edge referendum in April 2017. Erdogan won the referendum, paving the way for constitutional changes that would expand his presidential powers.

The era of an executive presidency would begin after the 2019 elections.

The changes to the law allow the acceptance of ballots in envelopes not bearing official polling station stamps, legalizing a decision made by the election body during last year‘s referendum.

The decision had sparked outcry from the opposition and election observers back then.

The main opposition Republican People‘s Party (CHP) argues that the changes, which also enable security forces to enter polling stations if invited by a voter, put a fair election at risk.

The pro-Kurdish Peoples‘ Democratic Party (HDP) had separately argued that the election overhaul would end up with ballot boxes being moved from districts where the HDP has popular support.

 

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