Lawyer: 250,000 women in shelters will not be able to vote

DBP Legal Commission member, lawyer Şivan Cemil Özen called on voters to check out for any irregularity.

Lawyer Şivan Cemil Özen said the decision to merge the polling stations is a “legal scandal” and added: “This decision does not take into account women in shelters. 250,000 women in shelters will not be able to vote.’’

The decision of the Turkish Supreme Election Board (YSK) to merge and move the polling stations taken on the pretext of 'security' will have a serious effect, especially in the cities of North Kurdistan.

The HDP said that this decision is actually aimed at reducing Kurdish votes.

DBP (Democratic Regions’ Party) Legal Commission member, lawyer Şivan Cemil Özen told ANF about the reasons behind this decision taken by YSK and its effects.

Özen noted: “This decision has been taken by Governorates for security reasons, as far as we know. The YSK - he added - has decided to move polling stations in over 19 provinces with a lot of voters, presumably about 300,000 for security reasons. Of course, in many respects, not only the legal aspect is left behind. This decision reveals the arbitrary attitude of the government.”

In particular, lawyer Özen stated that “the decision to move or merge station polls within five km from the original site, would have needed to be taken well in advance, in order to advertise the move to all voters. This is a very clear action against the law.”

This decision, argued Özen, will actually obstruct many citizens and will interfere with their right to vote.

No legal ground

Labelling the decision as a “legal scandal” lawyer Özen emphasized that “there is no legal basis for such a decision. In previous elections, on 1 November 2015, no polling stations were moved despite clashes in many areas. Now they are concerned about security in 19 provinces, all coincidentally Kurds. This decision clearly casts shadow on the elections. It is aimed at preventing voters from exercising their right and state their will.”

Özen insisted on the 19 provinces being mostly Kurdish areas. “In the regions where Kurds live, the main reason for moving the polling stations is clearly the attempt to prevent the HDP from overcoming the threshold."

The rights of 250,000 women affected

The lawyer stated that the voting rights of some 250,000 women living in shelters are being affected, as they won’t be able to vote for safety reasons. Özen said: “In the provinces, the polling stations were not moved to facilitate women living in shelters. This issue is ignored”.

Lawyer Özen concluded by calling on voters to check the ballot paper given to them, to make sure it is properly stamped and to check out for any irregularity or strange move.