First adjustment laws to transform, modernize top election board

First adjustment laws to transform, modernize top election board

The first batch of adjustment laws to be enacted in line with the constitutional changes approved in the April 16 referendum will transform and modernize the Supreme Election Board (YSK), media reports say.

According to the reports, the new adjustment laws projected to be introduced in the near future will lead to a series of changes to the YSK. The Justice and Development Party (AK Party) is making the last changes to their draft to transform the YSK and lower the legal age to be elected in local governing bodies. The AK Party's first package for the adjustment laws will be submitted to Parliament as soon as possible. One of the projected regulations will prevent YSK authorities from staying in a post in the same location for more than six years. The estimated to be 22 or 23 YSK regulations will also transform ballots.

New ballots are expected to have barcodes on them. Each ballot box will have a unique barcode to diminish the danger of vote fraud. However, it is also reported that the ultimate decision for the new barcode system has not been made yet. There were accusations in the wake of the April 16 referendum that some votes were fake and should not have been counted.

The second adjustment laws package to be submitted to Parliament includes amendments to local elections in accordance with the constitutional amendment. In line with this, the election age will be reduced from 25 to 18 for local elections as in general elections. In order to implement this regulation for the local elections to be held in March 2019, the amendment to the law must be made by March at the latest. Parliament will begin working on these two mini-adjustment law packages in January.

AK Party Deputy Chairman Hayati Yazıcı also recently stressed the need to pass the laws before March. "They must be made before March […] We will submit it to our chairman after the completion of the work. It will come before the party's authorized bodies at the Central Executive Board [MYK]. Then it will turn into a draft," Yazıcı said.

After many constitutional changes were approved in the April 16 referendum, adjustment laws and changes to the electoral system must be made. Apart from the changes to the top election board and local elections, general elections will be up for discussions as well. One of the alternatives to the current electoral system is that Turkey be divided into 600 polling districts. Each district would vote for a deputy in the type of system that exists in the U.K. The AK Party is in favor of this system, although public opinion is generally against it.

Another alternative is for the division of each province into voting districts. Each district would vote for five or six deputies. In this system, for example, Istanbul would be divided into 20 voting precincts. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has long been in favor of such a system.

A report in Habertürk also contends that attention will be shifted to suggestions from the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP). MHP Chairman Devlet Bahçeli previously called for the election threshold to be lower than 10 percent. Some AK Party officials point to 2019 as the time to discuss such issues, the report added.

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