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In the Referendum on the Constitutional Amendment Draft, the Supreme Election Board (YSK) has suspended the requirement that the envelopes and the ballot papers be sealed before the start of the voting process.
But what does the applicable law require?
The criteria to meet in an election process are regulated in the "The Law on Basic Provisions on Elections and Electoral Registers".
According to Article 98 of the The Law on Basic Provisions on Elections and Electoral Registers, unsealed ballot papers are invalid.
The applicable article which clearly demonstrates that YSK's decision contradicts with the law requires that:
"Any envelopes which are different in color or shape than the ones given by the poll board, any envelopes which do not carry the seal of the Election Board and the poll board [...] or carry any seal different from these as well as signature, writing, fingerprint are considered invalid".
Defence of YSK President Güven
Noting that the board had decided to consider the unsealed ballots valid upon request by an official from the Justice and Development Party (AKP) yesterday (April 16), YSK President Sadi Güven added that the seals supposed to read "Choice" to impressed on either the YES or NO section of the ballot paper but instead said "Yes" were considered valid as well.
In his statement this morning (April 17) Güven said:
"We took this decision before entering a single vote in the system and sharing it with the political parties. Therefore it is not correct to assign any meaning to this decision. This was all to overcome an obstacle preventing the political will of our citizens from being reflected in the polls which was originally caused by a mistake of the poll boards".
State-run Anadolu Agency backing YSK's decision
The state-run Anadolu Agency has reported that the YSK had taken similar decisions in three previous cases.
Yet in a similar case in 2004, the number of the unsealed ballot papers were only 145 while there are approximately 2 - 2,25 million unsealed ballot papers whose validity is in question in the recent referendum on April 16. (HK/DG)
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