The Chairman of the Supreme Election Board (YSK) Sadi Güven yesterday denied allegations of imaginary voters and repeaters in the local elections scheduled for March 31, adding that Turkey will hold secure and transparent elections without election fraud.
Speaking in the capital Ankara, Güven told Anadolu Agency (AA) that the number of voters eligible to vote in the March 31 elections is about 57 million. He added that a voter can be registered only once, refuting allegations on imaginary voters and repeaters in the upcoming local elections. Compared to 736 in the June 24 parliamentary and presidential elections, Güven said they have so far frozen about 56,000 voters' registrations as they do not reside in the residence they are registered in.
"We do our best to make our voters vote in their residential areas, as the law requires. We have given our judges the authority to launch an ex officio expiry to review this subject," Güven noted.
Güven's announcement came after the main opposition Republican People's Party's (CHP) brought up allegations of election fraud. Last week, the CHP reported abnormal increases in voter numbers in certain cities compared to the June elections.
According to Hürriyet daily, voter numbers increased by 95.7 percent in a single district in the central province of Çankırı, the CHP said. The party also reportedly found that a 165-year-old woman called Ayşe Ekici was among those registered as eligible. The CHP also claimed on Jan. 7 that in Istanbul's Princes' Islands almost 500 imaginary voters were registered in abandoned places or homes where no people reside.
Güven, on the other hand, confirmed that they detected only seven out of the 6,000 registered voters over the age of 100 to be alive, adding they have deleted the remaining from the electoral rolls.
Clarifying rumors that Syrians will also go to the polls, Güven said, "The Syrians, who have not become Turkish citizens, cannot vote."
Regarding the issue, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said on Saturday that at least 53,000 Syrians have acquired Turkish citizenship and would be able to vote in the local elections. However, he underscored that neither the voting of Syrians nor errors in address records of voters will have an effect on the election results.
Having participated in a series of meetings on election security held in southeastern Mardin province, Soylu added that Turkey is one of the leading countries in the world in election security and transparency, receiving minimal criticism from the international community on the matter.
Soylu noted that they have been taking every measure to ensure each citizen's freedom to vote, adding they are mainly focusing on three security elements: election security, rally security, voting secu
rity and security during the vote count.
He spoke on the further strengthening of transparency; officials, observers and representatives of all political parties can be present in district election boards, provincial election boards, and the YSK, adding that that list of voters is sent to all parties.
Local elections will be held across Turkey on March 31 to designate local authorities. Regarding the electoral process, last month the YSK announced the local election schedule and asked the parties to announce candidates between Jan. 1 and Feb. 21.
According to the schedule, on Sunday, March 31, 2019, Turkey will go to
the polls. The final lists of candidates will be announced on March 3. On March 21, election advertising and bans will begin. The period for election advertising will end one day before the election at 6 p.m. Candidates from different parties will compete in 1,398 municipalities, 921 districts and 396 towns across 81 provinces.