A leaked video of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has vote sparked fears of possible vote rigging ahead of presidential and parliamentary elections scheduled for June 24. The video shows Erdogan telling party officials to secure majorities on ballot box monitoring committees to “finish the job in Istanbul before it has even started.” In the video, Erdogan also comments on the pro-Kurdish HDP: “I can’t speak these words outside [publicly]. I am speaking them with you here. Why? Because if the HDP falls below the election threshold, it would mean that we would be in a much better place.”
Middle East and North Africa
Articles about voting issues in the Middle East and North Africa.
A soft-spoken parliamentarian, it’s easy to overlook Fatma Benli in a busy cafe until she starts recalling the disinformation campaign that nearly derailed her election bid two years ago. The small room we’re in begins to shudder as the sitting MP for the ruling AK Party passionately explains that she could have lost because of fake news and online narratives. “There was fake news circulating on every major social media platform,” the 44-year-old told Al Jazeera, reeling off a litany of examples where she and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan were repeatedly attacked in spurious social media posts. “Facebook, Twitter, it came from all sides.”
Iraq’s Federal Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected a request by the country’s election commission to invalidate legislative amendments under which electronic vote count has been abolished. Last week, the Iraqi parliament amended the election law to adopt only the manual count of votes in the May 12 parliamentary election. The court “unanimously decided to reject the request to stop executing provisions of the third amendment to the election law,” Iyas al-Samouk, a spokesman for the court, said in a statement.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi said on Tuesday he opposed any repeat of the May 12 parliamentary election, and warned that anyone who tried to sabotage the political process would be punished, after allegations of electoral fraud raised tensions. Parliament has demanded a nationwide recount of votes, drawing calls for the election to be re-run. Abadi said only the Supreme Federal Court could decide whether to re-run the vote, which was won by Shiite cleric Moqtada Al-Sadr’s bloc.
A fire raged through Baghdad’s largest ballot storage site on Sunday, just days after the Iraqi parliament ordered a recount of May’s election results amid accusations of fraud. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi called the fire “a plot to harm the nation and its democracy.” “We will take all necessary measures and strike with an iron fist all who undermine the security of the nation and its citizens,” Abadi said in a statement. The fire was confined to one of four warehouses in Baghdad’s al-Russafa district, where 60 percent of the capital’s 2 million eligible voters had cast their ballots. The Interior Ministry said no ballot boxes were destroyed in the fire, which engulfed a warehouse containing vote-counting machines and other election equipment.
Iraq’s parliament voted on Wednesday in favor of a manual ballot recount after allegations of widespread fraud in the country’s recently held parliamentary elections, a lawmaker said, a development that could further prolong the process of forming a new government. Hours later, a pair of explosions ripped through a mosque in a mostly Shiite district in Baghdad, killing at least seven worshippers, including two children. No one immediately claimed responsibility for the blasts. Parliament member Mohammed Saadoun said lawmakers voted on the election bill, which in effect constitutes an amendment to the country’s election law and also includes cancellation of vote results from balloting abroad and in camps for displaced people in four Sunni-dominated provinces. “This is meant to correct the election results and bring the political process in Iraq back on track after it was proven that fraud and manipulation of vote results took place,” he said.
In most countries, politicians who warned that aliens were trying to influence an upcoming general election would likely find themselves ridiculed by the media and shunned at the ballot box. In Pakistan, where cryptic references to “invisible hands” wielded by “the boys” have long been part of the political lexicon, such talk is a staple of the campaign trail. Ahead of the July 25 vote, ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has cautioned that “aliens” (Pakistan’s military) will attempt to prevent his party from winning another five-year term. Others whisper about the role the country’s feared “angels” (intelligence services) might play. The colorful terminology is partly a reflection of Pakistan’s rich linguistic heritage, peppered with English terms such as “blue-eyed boy” (one favored by those in power) and “red lines” (forbidden subjects).
“Who has a smartphone?” Muharrem Ince, the presidential nominee of Turkey’s main opposition party, asked the crowd during a recent rally in Denizli. “Now, you all start broadcasting,” he roared. “There is the government media, but there is also the people’s media.” Ince’s call for social media streaming of his rally was not just an effort to reach out to a wider audience, but also a protest. Ahead of Turkey’s critical presidential and parliamentary polls on June 24, opposition parties face an unprecedented blackout by mainstream television channels, almost all of which are now in pro-government hands. Although Ince and his Republican People’s Party (CHP) still manage to get some coverage, others like the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) are virtually banished from the screens, where President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is an omnipresent figure.
Pressure against Turkey’s largest pro-Kurdish bloc is nothing new. But with under three weeks left before the June 24 presidential and parliamentary polls, the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) is being squeezed more tightly than ever. HDP officials charge that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is trying to prevent the HDP from winning the minimum 10% of the vote needed to take seats in the parliament so as to ensure its continued dominance of the legislative body. Under Turkey’s convoluted rules, the first runner-up in a given electoral district picks up a party’s seat if it fails to scale the national barrier and in the Kurdish-dominated southeast, that would likely be the AKP. An estimated 80 seats are at stake.
Baghdad (IraqiNews.com) Iraq’s High Elections Commission announced on Wednesday it was cancelling voting results in the recent parliament elections from more than 1000 polling stations, adding it would hold violators accountable. It said its teams scrutinized 102 stations at 10 provinces where vote manipulation was reported by political parties, adding that violations were verified. The commission added it voluntarily scrutinized 2000 more stations, out of which 852 proved to have witnessed breaches, hence cancellation of results. It clarified that 67 stations for expatriate voters also had their results cancelled due to violations, including in the United States, Germany, the U.K., Sweden, Jordan and Turkey.