Home / Ankara / In a ‘Surprising’ Move, Turkish Electoral Council Swiftly Rejects all Referendum Appeals

In a ‘Surprising’ Move, Turkish Electoral Council Swiftly Rejects all Referendum Appeals

Turkey’s Supreme Election Board (YSK), the top office for the final decision on any poll disputes, rejected on April 19 all opposition objections to the results of the April 16 constitutional referendum.

Both the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Kurdish issue-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), the third largest party in parliament, had submitted legal objections to the board, mainly due to its decision to not deem ballot papers without official seals invalid.

The YSK stated on April 19 that it inspected appeals from the two parties in parliament, as well as the Vatan Party, and rejected them all, with only one affirmative vote from its 11 members.

“There is a crisis of legitimacy of [the referendum],” said CHP Deputy Chair Bülent Tezcan after the decision in a televised interview.

The CHP will decide on its next steps against the decision, Tezcan said, adding that the isssue “is the problem of the whole country.”

What is Election Council

Established in 1950, the Supreme Electoral Council (YSK) is the discretionary authority in Turkey to ensure that the electoral principles and rules of the constitution are upheld.  The Supreme Electoral Council consists of a president, six elected members of the Supreme Court of Appeals and five of the Council of State. The courts elect the YSK members with a secret vote of the absolute majority of their own members. Parties that are currently represented in parliament or the four parties who received the highest share of the votes in the previous election also appoint non-voting members to the YSK.

Majority of YSK members have been changed, 3 of them in custody. YSK head has been criticized for his closeness to President Erdogan.

YSK appoints the members of the provincial election boards, district election boards, and ballot box committees. The parties that qualify can assign their own members of parliament, mayors, municipal councilmen and assembly councilmen as their representatives to sit with the board.

Appeals regarding the elections are made to the YSK’s district or provincial officials. YSK has the power to annul an election result or order a rerun. YSK acts as the court of last resort in an electoral dispute and its decisions is exempt from judicial review.

Current non-voting members include representatives from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), the Republican People’s Party (CHP), the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP).

HDN & WHatti

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