Kurdish Party Vows to Bring Voters to New Polling Stations Set by Election Board
After Higher Electoral Board (YSK) decided to relocate polling stations in southeastern Turkey, the pro-Kurdish People’s Democracy Party (HDP) vowed to help its voters to get to the new places to cast their vote in the parliamentary and presidential elections.
Citing security reasons, YSK on Monday announced the decision to move ballot boxes from certain areas designated by the Turkish authorities as “special security zones” to what it says more secure places. While it did not give an exact number of how many ballot boxes would be moved, the board says it would affect 144,000 voters.
HDP lawmaker Garo Paylan pledged to bring HDP supporters to the new polling stations to help them cast their vote.
The YSK decision elicited a strong reaction from HDP, which depicted the move as election engineering. It claimed that boxes would be placed in villages and districts controlled by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in a certain scheme to dent its superiority in much of the southeastern region.
The HDP believes that the YSK design aims to serve the government’s goal to keep the Kurdish party below 10% threshold needed to enter Parliament.
“We see that the decision [to move the ballot boxes] was made for villages where the HDP gets a large share of the votes, around 75-80 percent,” HDP spokesman Ayhan Bilgen said, according to Reuters.
He noted that the AKP constitutes the majority of the votes in the villages to which the ballot boxes will be moved.
HDP whose former leader Selahattin Demirtas and a dozen of its lawmakers are in jail is carrying out a campaign under certain limitations. Its appeal for the release of Demirtas who is the Kurdish party’s presidential candidate is rejected by a court in Ankara.