Elections in Turkey: how free and fair will they be?  -Analysis by The Economist

Elections in Turkey: how free and fair will they be? -Analysis by The Economist

For the first time in 20 years, the Turkish elections show that the reign of Recep Tayyip Erdogan could end next Sunday.

The elections are taking place in a very tense atmosphere with fierce clashes, incidents and intense anxiety for the next day. Under these circumstances, the question is how free and fair these elections are in the end. The Economist tries to answer this question by analyzing the situation.

After giving a brief account of the comfortable dominance of the AKP over these 20 years, he states that Erdogan has become over time “more authoritarian, wielding undue influence over the courts, the central bank and other state institutions, and intimidating the opposition and independent media. “information”.

However, The Economist notes that opinion polls show that the presidential and legislative elections to be held on May 14 are very close to having no winner, which will lead to a second round.

Economist: There is speculation that Erdogan will challenge the result if he loses

However, the situation prevailing in the country lately, the publication points out, has “led to speculation that Mr. Erdogan could interfere in the elections, contest the results if he loses, or even refuse to participate”. conform”. And the most worrying thing, as he comments, is that “the strong man of Turkey has not appeased these concerns, on the contrary, with his declarations, he is ‘inflaming’ the political scene even more, while in at the same time, those close to him like Soylu accuse the United States and the West of interference in the electoral process.

For The Economist, the first key question is whether the votes will be counted accurately. Opposition politicians say they can afford to make sure of that. The opposition plans to place at least two observers in each of the 192,000 polling stations, carry out its own vote count and compare its figures with those published overnight by the Turkish electoral commission (which supports Mr Erdogan , but not entirely controlled by it). Additionally, Oy ve Otesi, an NGO, plans to deploy at least 70,000 nonpartisan observers.

The second problem with the electoral process concerns the people who will not be able to vote in the areas affected by the devastating earthquake. Of the 3 million citizens displaced by the disaster, only half have registered to vote in the places where they have settled. The rest must return to their destroyed towns to vote, but it is considered extremely difficult to make such a long journey to the ruined towns, although the government provides buses to transport them. That’s 2% of the 64 million who have the right to vote in the country, a significant percentage in the elections which show that it will be closely between Erdogan and Kilicdaroglu.

Another question posed by The Economist is what Mr. Erdogan will do if he is defeated. Senior officials in his party reject any suggestion that the president refuses to cede power. But dozens of people with a lot to lose, including corrupt officials and conniving businessmen who rely on government contracts, can try to get him to act, especially in the case of a small dispute.

“To do this, Erdogan would need the support of the bureaucracy and the security forces,” says Gonul Tol, an analyst at the Middle East Institute, a Washington-based think tank.

Turkish Elections: Opposition Media Says An Assassination Attempt Is Being Prepared Against Kilicdaroglu

Türkiye elections: Erdogan admits having difficulty convincing young people

“But it’s a dangerous scenario for him. I don’t think the institutions will support an Erdogan who just lost the election, because they don’t want to risk legal repercussions,” he says.
Many observers outside Turkey believe Mr Erdogan cannot afford to lose the election. The common opinion inside the country is that he can’t even afford to fly.

“Turks are convinced that their votes count. Turnout has averaged 85% in the last four elections, a figure that… puts most European countries with high abstention numbers to shame. Any attempt at electoral fraud or a coup could trigger mass protests, violence and economic unrest. The ballot boxes may have become Turkey’s last door for dissent. If anything happens, the country risks to explode,” the article concludes.

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