During a press conference in the Turkish Parliament, AK Parti Group Deputy Mustafa Elitaş commented on the debate surrounding the possibility of postponed general elections. Elitaş stated that the Parliament had a break of 21 days starting from February 6th, as the Members of Parliament (MPs) wanted to be in the earthquake-affected areas. He added that the Parliament would resume working on February 28th and that the first topic on the agenda would be the “Early Retirement” issue. Elitaş believes that the discussions on the 4-article law proposal regarding the “Early Retirement” issue will begin on the same day and will conclude on Wednesday.
As for the general elections, which are still not clear whether they will be held on May 14th, Elitaş said, “Postponing the elections is not on the agenda.” He explained that no decision has been made yet and that it is not ethical to discuss the issue while the nation is still coping with the earthquake. Elitaş also stated that the Parliament, the President, or the Supreme Electoral Council could make the decision on elections according to the Election Law. He emphasized that the issue of postponing the elections is not currently on their agenda.
Elitaş criticized the claims that some people are trying to postpone the elections via the Supreme Electoral Council, calling it a “devilish idea.” He added that people who served in political parties, including those who served in the AK Parti and even those who were the General Presidents of their parties, are not even considering the idea of postponing the elections via the Supreme Electoral Council.
Causes of the Debate Surrounding Postponed General Elections
The debate surrounding the postponed general elections in Turkey began when former Turkish Parliament Speaker and AK Parti founding member Bülent Arınç called for the postponement of the elections due to the earthquake disaster. Arınç pointed out that 85 MPs from the earthquake-affected regions would not be able to represent their constituents as the voter registers in the areas would be invalidated. He argued that holding elections in these areas would be legally and physically impossible.
Arınç proposed three different suggestions for postponing the elections. One was to declare a state of emergency in the affected regions and postpone the elections for up to six months. Another suggestion was to divide the earthquake-affected provinces into separate constituencies and hold the elections in the unaffected parts. Finally, he proposed to postpone the elections for six months, as the Constitution permits.
The possibility of postponed general elections in Turkey due to the earthquake disaster has led to a debate among political parties and experts. While some argue that postponing the elections is necessary due to the devastation caused by the earthquake, others believe that it would be unethical to discuss such an issue at this time. As the issue remains on the table, it remains to be seen whether the elections will be postponed, and if so, how and when they will be held.
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