Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has slammed a controversial legislative package approved by parliament in the early hours of March 13, dubbing the package an “election fraud law.”
“They [the ruling Justice and Development Party and the Nationalist Movement Party] hid the package from the nation. Why? Because the law explains line by line how election fraud can be conducted,” Kılıçdaroğlu said on March 13 in an address to his party group in parliament, criticizing the government for initiating parliamentary sessions on the law in a late night assembly on March 12.
The legislative package paving the way for pre-election party alliances and stipulating changes in election and political party laws was approved by parliament amid brawls between groups of rival MPs.
The CHP says the package – which allows for the merging of electoral districts, the moving of ballot boxes to other districts, the use of ballot papers without official stamps, and the presence of security forces in polling stations – will lead to election irregularities.
The legislation is “against the constitutional principle of equality and justice in representation and paves the way for unjust representation and seizes the national will,” Kılıçdaroğlu said, adding that “the 10 percent election threshold effectively continues with an even harsher threshold.”
“[With the law] a party that has received 100,000 votes might not gain a single seat at parliament, while a party with 20,000 votes in an alliance with a party with 90,000 votes will have a majority of seats,” he said.
The CHP leader also voiced his party’s concern about election security, saying the “proposal has characteristics that will abolish election safety and is preparing for an ‘election with a stick.’”
Political parties’ ability to monitor ballot boxes during voting is also reduced according to the change, with ballot box heads due to be appointed from among state officials.
“What’s more, a governor will be able to locate ballot boxes wherever they want. They will have the authority to say, for example, that these 50 villages will have to vote in this place,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.