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A pre-electoral delegation from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), who visited the capital city of Ankara to assess the election campaigns and preparations for the Presidential and Parliamentary elections on June 24, published a report yesterday (May 31).
During their two-day visit to Turkey, the delegation met with representatives of the Supreme Election Council (YSK) and Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) as well as journalists and representatives of political parties from different political affiliations and NGOs.
After two days of meetings, the pre-electoral delegation of the PACE, which will send 37 observers to Turkey in total to monitor the snap elections, has prepared and published a report regarding the pre-electoral period.
Some of the highlights from the report are as follows:
"Against the backdrop of wider concerns as regards freedom of the media, several interlocutors drew the delegation's attention to the unequal media coverage and visibility of different political parties and presidential candidates to the advantage of the ruling party and the incumbent President.
"Delegation recalled that guaranteeing equal media access to different political forces and candidates and an impartial coverage of campaign is a fundamental precondition to enable electorate to make an informed choice.
"Many interlocutors underlined that the State of Emergency and the limitations to freedom of expression and assembly that have been introduced under its aegis, together with the ongoing security operations in the South East and the high number of arrests of politicians and journalists, negatively impact the electoral environment and limit the space for democratic debate which is even more essential during an electoral campaign.
"The delegation noted that an insufficient number of women have been included in the electoral lists for the parliamentary contest.
"The delegation noted that substantial amendments to the electoral law were adopted only one month prior to the announcement of the elections while the so-called harmonisation laws were adopted even later.
"It reiterated that having such a short lapse of time between the introduction of changes to the electoral legislation and the holding of elections is not in line with the recommendations of the Venice Commission." (PT/SD)
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