Opposition leader criticizes Turkey's election board

Published June 2nd, 2015 - 12:30 GMT

Turkey's Supreme Election Board acts like a subsidiary of the ruling Justice and Development Party, an opposition leader has alleged.

"Two members aside, YSK [Supreme Election Board] has become a body which makes decisions on the basis of the government's expectations," Kemal Kilicdaroglu, chairman of the Republican People's Party (CHP), said in an interview with CNN Turk late Monday.

Kilicdaroglu called on judges and lawyers to "rebel" against such decisions.

"As a judicial body, YSK is obliged to remind a president of the need to maintain his impartiality, but so far it has failed to perform this duty," he said.

Erdogan has been giving speeches across Turkey and abroad, during which he has often promoted his idea to replace the current parliamentary system with a new presidential system, a move which is strongly opposed by Turkish opposition parties.

The Turkish president had rejected accusations that he breached the country’s constitution by giving political speeches, saying he could not just “stand aside in this process”.

Kilicdaroglu said that if his party won the general election, "everybody will resume their position in line with the constitution. The prime minister will act as a prime minister, and the president will act as a president."

The issue of a potential presidential system has been a hot topic in Turkey. A constitutional amendment or a new constitution would be needed to establish such an executive presidential system.

The ruling AK Party will need at least 330 seats in the 550-member parliament to be able to take either the presidential system or the new constitution to a referendum. It currently has 311, having won over 49 percent of the vote in the 2011 general election.

"Not keen on coalition"

Kilicdaroglu dismissed the idea of forming a coalition government with the ruling AK Party in case no single party achieved a majority in the parliament after the elections.

"We are not that keen on a coalition government. Honestly, Turkey needs the CHP to be in power. It needs this for democracy, human rights, economic growth and eliminating poverty. It needs this to rebuild Turkey," he said.

Kilicdaroglu also rejected claims that stability would be harmed in case the AK Party did not come to power single-handedly, and a coalition government was formed. 

"Is there even stability left anymore? You said yourself the economy is receding, and unemployment has jumped. ... [If we come to power] we will be the guarantor of stability, and bring first class democracy to this country. We are determined to make this happen," he said.

The opposition leader also said that they would amend the internal regulations, and set up a budget commission to be chaired by a main opposition leader.

"When we come to power, we will account for every cent spent from the government budget. That's how confident we are," he added.

He also promised to abolish within a year of office the 10 percent election threshold currently required to gain seats in parliament.

"Both I and my party are of the opinion that the chairman of any party which gets one percent of the votes, should be able to have a seat in the parliament. The 10 percent election threshold is a by-product of [the 1980] coup," he said.

The pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democracy Party (HDP) which is standing as a party for the first time in a general election, is seeking to pass the 10 percent threshold that will allow it to participate in the Grand National Assembly.

The party currently has lawmakers who stood as independents in the 2011 election and joined the party after being elected.

If the party passes the electoral threshold, it will be able to win at least 50 to 60 seats, which will be seats lost to the largest party in their constitutiencies.

Deputy Prime Minister Yalcin Akdogan Monday accused the HDP of seeking autonomy for southeastern Turkey after the June 7 general election.

"They will say the southeastern part of Turkey chose them and they will try to cantonize there," Akdogan said.


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