Middle East and North Africa

Articles about voting issues in the Middle East and North Africa.

Afghanistan: Parliament elections timetable likely to be announced in March | Khaama Press

The timetable for the parliament election of Afghanistan is likely to be announced by early March of this year. Deputy presidential spokesman Shah Hussain Murtazvi said the Independent Election Commission should present the timetable for the parliamentary election by early March. He said a meeting was also organized with the international donors to discuss the arrangement of funds for the elections. Murtazvi further added that the United Nations will also support the government and is working on technical team to cooperate with the electoral bodies. Read More

Turkey: Fears Grow Over Fairness of Upcoming Election in Turkey | VoA News

The Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has signed into law constitutional amendments aimed at giving him sweeping new powers under an executive presidency. The reforms are deeply divisive, with supporters saying they will strengthen democracy, while critics warn of dictatorship. Turks will decide in a referendum set for April 16. Doubts over its fairness are growing among opponents of the reforms, who claim a crackdown against them already has started. Leading right-wing politician Meral Aksener recently spoke at a rally to oppose the presidential constitutional reforms. The meeting ended up being held in darkness after the electricity to the venue was mysteriously cut. Aksener said she had little doubt the blackout was deliberate, shouting to the audience, “President, what you are afraid of, me as a woman opposing you and your powerful state. We look for democracy in darkness and hopefully on April 16th we will find democracy coming out of the ballots,” she later said to reporters. Read More

Turkey: Referendum on stronger presidency to be held on April 16 | Reuters

Turkey will hold a referendum on April 16 on replacing its parliamentary system with the stronger presidency long sought by incumbent Tayyip Erdogan, electoral authorities announced on Saturday. The proposed constitutional reform would mark one of the biggest changes in the European Union candidate country’s system of governance since the modern republic was founded on the ashes of the Ottoman empire almost a century ago. It would enable the president to issue decrees, declare emergency rule, and appoint ministers and top state officials. It could also see Erdogan remain in power in the NATO member state until 2029. Erdogan’s supporters see the plans as a guarantee of stability at a time of turmoil, with Turkey’s security threatened by the wars in neighboring Syria and Iraq, and by a spate of Islamic State and Kurdish militant attacks. Read More

Iran: Electronic Voting Machines Pass Security Tests | Financial Tribune

Domestically-designed machines built to replace ballot boxes in the upcoming city council elections have been successfully tested, removing doubts over the implementation of electronic voting in Iranian elections. Abolfazl Aboutorabi, a member of Majlis Councils and Internal Affairs Commission, made the announcement in a talk with ICANA on Saturday. The elections will be held on May 19, concurrent with the presidential polls.  A special parliamentary board, comprising three members of Majlis Councils and Internal Affairs Commission and two from Majlis Article 90 Commission, is tasked with vetting candidates and overseeing the city council elections. Read More

Turkey: Erdogan buoyed by vote for powerful presidency | Associated Press

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday began campaigning for constitutional reforms that would greatly expand the powers of his office, only hours after a vote in parliament cleared the way for a national referendum on the issue. Speaking in Istanbul, he hailed the assembly’s early-morning decision saying a more powerful presidency will catapult Turkey to a position of strength. “God willing the people will give the true decision, the final decision,” Erdogan said. After an all-night session capping almost two weeks of acrimonious debate, Turkish lawmakers passed the controversial set of 18 articles. The measures still need to be approved in a national plebiscite slated for April. The bill would abolish the role of the prime minister and introduce a presidential system that critics fear lacks effective checks and balances. A change to the presidential system would be a crowning achievement for Erdogan, who has outmaneuvered and crushed all his major foes. The reforms would potentially allow him to remain in power until 2029. Read More

Turkey: Parliament nears approval of presidential system | Reuters

Turkey edged closer to adopting a constitutional bill extending President Tayyip Erdogan’s powers overnight, with parliament approving four more articles of a reform which opponents see as a step towards an authoritarian state. Erdogan, who could rule the European Union candidate country until 2029 if the legislation is passed, says it will provide stability at a time of turmoil and prevent a return to the fragile coalitions of the past. During the evening debate an independent lawmaker, Aylin Nazliaka, handcuffed herself to the podium in protest against the stronger presidency, triggering a scuffle between MPs of the ruling AK Party and opposition parties. The reform would enable the president to issue decrees, declare emergency rule, appoint ministers and top state officials and dissolve parliament – powers that the two main opposition parties say strip away balances to Erdogan’s power. Read More

Turkey: Parliament approves more constitutional reform articles | Reuters

Turkey’s parliament approved the first seven articles in a second round of voting overnight on a constitutional bill that will extend President Tayyip Erdogan’s powers, keeping the reform on course for a spring referendum. The two largest opposition parties in parliament say the 18-article bill, which could enable Erdogan to rule until 2029, will fuel authoritarianism in the NATO member and European Union candidate country. The ruling AK Party, backed by the nationalist MHP, says it will bring the strong executive leadership needed to prevent a return to the fragile coalition governments of the past. Read More

Turkey: Parliament votes in favour of constitutional reform in first round | Reuters

Turkey’s parliament has voted in favour in a first round ballot on a constitutional bill that will extend President Tayyip Erdogan’s powers, which opposition politicians say could put the country at risk of growing authoritarianism. The assembly approved the final 18th article of the package late on Sunday and according to parliament regulations will now take a two-day break from the talks before a second round of voting during which any changes to the articles will be debated. Read More

Israel: Committee approves prisoner voting rights in local elections | Jerusalem Post

The Knesset Interior Committee unanimously passed a bill on Monday that will allow prisoners to vote in municipal elections while incarcerated. The bill, initiated by MK Ilan Gilon (Meretz) and MK Aliza Lavie (Yesh Atid), is similar in its essence to the amendment bill that passed in 1986, which gave prisoners the right to vote in the general – but not municipal – election. The bill now needs to be approved by the Knesset in its first reading. The MKs explained that each citizen holds more weight in municipal elections than they do in national elections, and that the outcome has major implications on their day to day life. Read More

Iran: E-voting viable if Guardian Council approves so | Tehran Times

Alireza Barati, deputy Interior Minister for e-governance and IT, has said the interior ministry is ready to hold electronic voting in the forthcoming presidential election if the Guardian Council gives the go-head. “Electronic voting offers advantages such as speed, accuracy and precision and we are ready to use it in the upcoming presidential election provided that the Guardian Council approves it,” ISNA quoted Barati as saying on Monday. There is an economic dimension to electronic voting as it remove the need to print ballots and count votes, the official added.  Read More