Irregularities continue in the post-electoral process of appeals


The local elections in Turkey were held on March 31, 2019. As the preliminary findings of the formal missions of election observation pointed out, the playground for the elections was extremely uneven during the campaign. And many frauds and irregularities in favor of the ruling AKP-MHP coalition were documented on the day of election. Such frauds and irregularities continue after the elections.

Based on the law on elections, various political parties have objected to election results and demanded recounting of the votes — especially in cities and districts where the margin for winning was small. Consequently, in Istanbul and many other cities where the AKP or its ally MHP objected, district or provincial boards of elections decided to recount the votes. Recounting is continuing in places, where opposition candidates won, even if the margin of winning is big like in Ankara.

However, none of the appeals of the HDP for recounting of the votes were accepted by the district and provincial boards of elections even when the margin for winning was a couple of votes and there were many votes counted as invalid.

For example, In Muş, where the AKP candidate won by over 538 votes and 2,449 votes were deemed invalid, the HDP documented faults in 103 polling stations and appealed to the provincial election board for recounting the votes. In Malazgirt district of Muş, where the AKP has won by only 3 votes and 432 votes were deemed invalid, we appealed to the district election board for re-counting. Our demands were rejected without any justified reason. Similarly, we appealed for recounting the votes in Tatvan district of Bitlis, where the AKP won by 295 votes (2,276 invalid votes); Taşlıçay district of Ağrı, where the AKP won by 144 votes (194 invalid votes); Gercüş district of Batman, where the AKP won by 43 votes (252 invalid votes); Dargeçit district of Mardin, where the AKP won by 634 votes (718 invalid votes); Viranşehir district of Urfa, where the AKP won by 757 votes (6,607 invalid votes); Şemdinli district of Hakkari, where the AKP won by 154 votes, and Esendere district of Hakkari, where the AKP won by 115 votes. In many of these places, the numbers of votes deemed invalid are significantly higher than the margin of winning. All of our appeals to district electoral boards were rejected without any justified reason. Upon these rejections, we appealed to provincial elections boards; our cases are pending. We will appeal to Supreme Board of Elections if provincial boards, too, reject our appeals.

It is clear that election boards are working under the pressure of the AKP-MHP coalition. The wholesale rejection of our simplest demand to recount the votes (with documented justification) without any justified reason reveals once again that the conditions under which elections are held in Turkey are not democratic, fair, and free. We urge the missions on the ground and relevant institutions to meticulously observe the appeals and recounting process.

Hişyar Özsoy
Deputy Co-chair of the HDP Responsible for Foreign Affairs Deputy for Diyarbakır