Supreme Election Council (YSK) President Sadi Güven said yesterday that all the necessary measures are being taken for the election security and called on political parties to send their representatives to the ballot boxes. "We have been taking all measures in order to ensure the election security. The biggest responsibility here is on the political parties," Güven told reporters in Ankara.
"Elections are secured, there is no duplicate electorate, no fake electorate and there is no claim of using fake election ballots," he said, adding that, "Since these are nonexistent, it is wrong to have discussions on election security before starting the elections."
The snap presidential and parliamentary elections will be held on June 24 as announced by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan upon the call for early elections from Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Chairman Devlet Bahçeli.
Güven underlined that an agreement has been reached with the Education Ministry to give training to the representatives that will be responsible in the polling centers just like all balloting committee chairs are given training in the election periods. Güven called on parties to send their representatives and members so that they can receive training. He highlighted that with the training, people stationed at the polling centers would be more informed and therefore the results would be errorless.
In relation to the elections security, some changes have been made to the election law as the 26-article bill prepared by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and the MHP were ratified by Parliament on March 16. According to the new election law, ordinary citizens will be allowed to call the police or security forces if unease erupts at a polling station, while in the past law enforcement could be only called to the polling centers by appointed officials. Another article stresses that envelopes not stamped by an election board or balloting committee will also be counted as legal votes. The head of the balloting committee will have to be a civil servant or a retired civil servant. While debates regarding election security repeat during each election period in Turkey, international and other monitoring organizations agree that the elections are secured in the country.
Meanwhile, the general elections in 2015 were observed by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Council of Europe, with the organization saying, "Turkey's well-managed, democratic elections demonstrated pluralism."
Following the Nov. 1 elections, the OSCE/Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights' (ODIHR) Limited Election Observation Mission's (LEOM) preliminary findings noted that the freedom to campaign in any language, which was guaranteed by law in 2014 by the AK Party government, was as a positive step. In addition to international organizations, citizen organizations also monitor elections in Turkey. The most common type of domestic election monitoring comes by way of poll watchers who are party members that are looking out for the interests of their party.
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