SP Senator Kox: Turkish parliamentary elections unusually exciting

3 June 2015

SP Senator Kox: Turkish parliamentary elections unusually exciting

‘The Turkish parliamentary elections on 7th June promise to be exceptionally tense and exciting. The ruling AK Party is attempting to win a two-thirds majority, while the left Kurdish party is doing its best to get above the extremely high electoral threshold of 10% and social democrats and nationalists are shouting about how they’re going to put an end to the dominance of the governing party, whose founder Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is now Turkey’s President.’ So says SP Senator Tiny Kox, who heads an international team of observers from the Council of Europe. Days after the election he will be in Ankara to present the observation’s findings.

In the next few days Senator Kox and his 30-strong delegation from a large number of European countries will meet the leaders of all of the larger political parties, as well as the Electoral Commission, the TV and radio supervisor, representatives of the Turkish media and domestic election observers. In addition the delegations will work closely with the team of observers sent to Turkey by the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

The ruling AK Party’s efforts are principally aimed at achieving the replacement of the existing parliamentary system with a presidential system, a change to which the opposition parties are opposed. If the left Kurdish HDP manages to get past the 10% threshold, relations in the Turkish Parliament will be transformed. A month ago, during a preparatory visit to the country, Kox noted a number of concerns about the ruling party’s use of the media as well as its spending of state funds for electoral purposes, and possible fraud in relation to the elections. He is also concerned about the large number of attacks on HDP offices.

Turkish citizens living abroad, including those in the Netherlands, have already had the opportunity to vote. The average turnout was 35%, much higher than in recent presidential elections. The votes have in the meantime been taken to Turkey and will be counted along with those of other voters on 7th June.

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