Turkey’s main opposition candidate in the upcoming presidential election questioned on Tuesday why electoral authorities are printing millions of extra ballots. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu said international observers had noted that about 18 million additional ballot papers were being printed for the vote, the first round of which is on Aug. 10. If no candidate wins an absolute majority, a runoff will be held on Aug. 24. “Of course some of the ballot papers may come to harm. They could be destroyed by rain, floods and mud,” Ihsanoglu said. “But what does it mean to print 18 million extra? Who will use these ballots? How will they not go into the wrong hands? This is what we are asking. Who is responsible?”
A July 31 interim report by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which is sending election observers, noted that about 55.8 million voters, including overseas residents, are registered to vote, but that the electoral board had told them it was printing 73.8 million ballots.
The board’s “decision on the number of ballots to be issued lacks a clear legal basis,” the OSCE report said.