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Iran Press TV

Opposition parties denied equal conditions in Turkey elections: Observers

Iran Press TV

Mon Jun 25, 2018 03:53PM

International observers have denounced the lack of "equal" conditions for candidates to campaign in Turkey's twin presidential and parliamentary elections that were swept by incumbent President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his ruling party.

Erdogan swept the Sunday presidential polls while his ruling party and its nationalist allies secured a majority in parliament.

Five candidates ran against Erdogan, including the jailed ex-leader of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), Selahattin Demirtas.

In a statement, the joint mission of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) pointed to issues over counting and tabulation during which "legally prescribed steps were often omitted."

The mission said polling day procedures were "generally followed," but pointed to issues over counting and tabulation during which "legally prescribed steps were often omitted."

The elections took place under a state of emergency in place since the 2016 coup attempt against Erdogan, which the mission said "limited" freedoms of expression and assembly.

In a separate statement, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe also said that in 10 percent of its observations, ballot box committees did not stamp the ballots.

It, however, said voters had a genuine choice during what was a "vibrant" campaign in "a highly polarized political environment."

Ignacio Sanchez Amor, head of the OSCE short-term observer mission in Turkey, said, "The restrictions we have seen on fundamental freedoms have had an impact on these elections. I hope that Turkey lifts these restrictions as soon as possible."

The OSCE noted there had been attacks and disruption, mainly against the HDP and that opposition parties were denied equal conditions for campaigning in Turkey's elections. It also said Erdogan and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) enjoyed undue advantages, including in the state and private media.

Earlier on Monday, Erdogan's main rival Muharrem Ince conceded defeat and said he accepted the election results, despite an "unjust" campaign.

In April, Erdogan called the snap elections, bringing forward a vote that was expected to be held in November 2019.

He won the last presidential election in 2014 after completing two terms as prime minister.

In April 2017, 51 percent of Turkish voters endorsed constitutional changes backed by Erdogan, which grant new executive powers to the president and scrap the post of prime minister.

Supporters of the reforms argue that they will modernize the country, but opponents fear a possible authoritarian rule.

The constitutional overhaul would mean that Erdogan could stay in power for another two terms until 2029.

An executive presidential system approved by the April referendum now comes into effect.

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