The Supreme Election Board (YSK) on Saturday evening accepted requests from the governor’s offices of 19 provinces to consolidate polling stations, a move strongly criticized by the opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), the Cumhuriyet daily reported.
According to the report, the YSK took the decision despite objections voiced by HDP deputy Mithat Sancar and the HDP’s YSK representative, Mehmet Tiryaki.
“All the provinces affected are in the Kurdish region of the country. Some 270,000 voters will have to travel outside their neighborhood to cast their ballots at the combined polling stations,” Sancar told Voice of America, underlining that 90 percent of the polling stations that will be merged with others were used in the Nov. 1 2015 elections.
“There were clashes and operations by security forces in the past. But today there are no clashes and operations like that. How can the administration claim that there are security concerns? This is not a persuasive argument.”
Turkey will hold presidential and parliamentary elections on June 24. Opinion polls show that support for the HDP is hovering around the threshold to enter Parliament of 10 percent. The presence of the HDP in Parliament translates into the loss of dozens of seats for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).