Justification debates on Istanbul rerun decision

Published 24.05.2019 20:25
Updated 25.05.2019 00:31

The Supreme Election Council (YSK) on Wednesday released its justified decision to annul the March 31 mayoral election in Istanbul. Between pages 200 and 212 of the 250-page reasoning, the cancellation of the election is justified on the basis of three key factors. Some 754 ballot box committee chairs were not public officials, violating election law. So, the violation of legal requirements rendered the election unreliable. Since some 212,276 voted in the 754 ballot boxes, it was ruled that this factor was effective in the result of the polls. The voting tally sheets were not issued regularly in 108 ballot boxes, which damaged election security dramatically. The numbers of voters in the 108 ballot boxes was 30,281.

It was determined that 706 people who weren't allowed to vote, illegally voted, as votes were cast on behalf of people under restrictions, deceased people, prisoners held in penal institutions and people with mental disabilities.

Irregularities and violations in these three aspects damaged the reliability of the election and ruled to be effective in the election result. One of the primary reasons for the annulment was the illegal appointments to ballot box committees.

Ballot box chairs have a key role in ensuring the reliability and security of elections according to election law. Chairs are vested with critical duties and authority, such as regulating the balloting process and determining the poll results.

Although the amendment of the election law on March 13, 2018, clearly rules the presence of official civil servants in ballot box committees, no legally acceptable justification was made to the fact that the 754 ballot box chairs were not official public servants.

The YSK also underscored that all proceedings undertaken by the committees formed inconsistently with the law were invalid.

The settled case law of the Council of State rules to cancel all the proceedings conducted by a committee formed inconsistently with the law or legislation, including disciplinary committees, examination committees and thesis committees.

The counterargument, meanwhile, suggests that the ballot box committees were determined on March 2.

However, the full list of committee chairs and members was not disclosed to political parties despite their requests. The objection right could not be used effectively. No objection appeal was filed to the YSK for the June 24, 2018 elections regarding any irregularity in ballot box committees.

The YSK also refused appeals regarding Istanbul's Büyükçekmece and Maltepe districts on the grounds that the number of ballot box committee chairs irregularly assigned in these districts does not reach a level that could be effective in the poll results.

Apparently, the justified decision of the YSK, which was announced 30 days before the re-election, will be used as a tool in the election campaign process.

The harshness of this debate will be a test for our democracy.

The re-election will ensure the reflection of Istanbul voters' popular will on the ballots.

At this point, everyone should respect the YSK decision and focus on the campaigns.

The vote difference between the two opponents in Istanbul mayoral elections fell by 15,678 in favor of the People's Alliance mayoral candidate Binali Yıldırım only with the recount of 10 percent of the total votes, which casts a serious doubt on the reliability of the election.

The doubts could have been straightened out if all the ballot boxes had been recounted. So, the annulment and rerun of the election has brought a definite solution. The candidate who can express himself in a better way will be the new Istanbul mayor, which will serve justice.

Hopefully, the political parties will be able to secure the ballot boxes, while the YSK ensures that the legal requirements are met throughout the process.

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