Turkey’s elections board limits voting rights in prisons

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Silivri Prison in Istanbul.

Turkey’s Supreme Board of Elections (YSK) on Friday ruled to restrict the voting rights of inmates in the country’s prisons, the Hürriyet daily reported.

The decision came ahead of local elections slated for March 31, 2019, which will determine mayors across the country. Eight members of the YSK voted in favor, while three voted against. The term in office of some of the members had recently been extended by the government.

The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) representative within the YSK, Mehmet Hadimi Yakupoğlu, said that for the first time in its history, the YSK had restricted voting rights despite its contravention of Article 67 of the constitution.

With this decision, inmates will be able to vote only if they are imprisoned in the district in which they were registered to vote before their incarceration.

Since a July 15, 2016 failed coup attempt, Turkey has witnessed an unprecedented rise in its prison population, mainly on charges of coup involvement and terrorist links.

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