Turkey’s Supreme Election Board (YSK) will no longer have the power to fine political parties that violate election laws concerning pre-election survey procedures, a decision that drew criticism from opposition parties, which predicts it will lead to an unfair campaign process for the country’s upcoming referendum.
A recently introduced state of emergency decree has ruled that the YSK will no longer be able to fine political parties campaigning to promote either the “yes” or “no” votes for the referendum on constitutional amendments, if they violate a set of rules on pre-election surveys.
For broadcast violations, the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) will now be the sole authority to penalize the parties, although YSK will still be able to set out the rules. The YSK will still receive reports from RTÜK concerning the violation of its rules, but the parties will be able to get away with paying the penalty fee to RTÜK for their broadcast violations.
Speaking about the decree law, the main opposition Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) representative of YSK, Mehmet Hadimi Yakupoğlu, said “the era of ‘pay its money and do whatever broadcasting you want, publish whatever survey you want’ has started.”
Its current rule is that parties cannot publish or distribute any survey results 10 days prior to the referendum date. The surveys that are carried out more than 10 days in advance, political parties are required to give explanation to the YSK over the details of the work, such as the name of the surveying company, its financial resource and sample numbers used in the survey.
The YSK still holds the power to penalize parties that violate political advertisement regulations.
Author: Oya Armutçu