Wednesday, 23 May 2018 | News today: 0

Brawl erupts after vote law passed in Turkish parliament

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Turkey’s parliament passed a law revamping electoral regulations on Tuesday, backing legislation the opposition said could open the door to fraud and jeopardize the fairness of 2019 polls, and triggering a brawl on the floor of the chamber, Reuters reports.

The passage of the law grants Turkey’s High Electoral Board the authority to merge electoral districts and move ballot boxes to other districts.

Ballots that aren’t stamped by the local electoral board will still be admissible – formally approving a practice that caused a widespread outcry from government critics and concern from election monitors at a referendum last year.

Security force members will be allowed into polling stations when invited by a voter, a measure the government says is designed to prevent intimidation by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in the mainly Kurdish southeast.

Opposition parties, however, see the measures as making the vote counting process less transparent and as allowing the government to move ballot boxes from opposition strongholds.

“The battle in parliament is over but we will fight for election security by every means. We will go to the constitutional court regarding the unconstitutional nature of this regulation,” said Ozgur Ozel, a deputy from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP).

The legislation formally allows for the creation of electoral alliances, paving the way for a tie-up between President Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling AK Party and their nationalist allies. It was widely expected to pass, given the combined support of the AKP and the nationalist MHP.