Turkey parliament passes electoral bill amid opposition criticism

Turkey parliament passes electoral bill amid opposition criticism
From Al Jazeera - March 13, 2018

Turkey's parliament has passed a bill revamping electoral regulations, a move the opposition says could open the door to fraud and jeopardise the fairness of 2019 elections.

The legislation formally allows the creation of electoral alliances, paving the way for a tie-up between President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party and the nationalist opposition.

The AK party and opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) submitted the bill to the parliament speaker's office last month.

The bill, which comprises 26 articles, grants the Supreme Electoral Council the authority to merge electoral districts and move ballot boxes to other districts.

Ballots will be admissible without the stamp of the local electoral board, formalising a decision made during a referendum last year that caused a widespread outcry among government critics and concern from election monitors.

Under the bill, security force members will be allowed into polling stations when invited by a voter, a measure the government says will stamp out intimidation by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in the mainly Kurdish southeast.

The bill also states a political party can officially back one another during elections, adding that votes received by the alliance will be counted separately for each party.

The number of elected MPs representing the alliance will be based on the total number of votes it gets.

Furthermore, the MPs representing each party of the alliance will be decided based on the specific number of votes it gets.

MHP backs AK party


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