CHP sets sights on Erdogan's strongholds

27 Mart 2024 Çarşamba

"Kasımpaşa and Kısıklı... It's a matter of honor for us. We attach great importance to it and believe we will win."

This is what a CHP executive told me, referring to Beyoğlu, where President Erdogan was born, and Üsküdar, where he lives. They are expecting the administration of both districts to shift to the main opposition party.

With the election just days away, the biggest question undoubtedly concerns the fate of Istanbul. This leads to the perennial question: How will ballot security be ensured?

I spoke with officials from the CHP, the most assertive party in Istanbul, for answers...

First, I called Özgür Çelik, the CHP Istanbul Provincial Chair, who will be facing his first test in the March 31 elections. Çelik mentioned that they started working on ballot security about two months ago and provided the following information:

"There will be 33,227 ballot boxes in Istanbul. We called each person who had previously served at a ballot box. We replaced those who would not serve again. We submitted the complete list of all ballot box officials to the district electoral boards on February 24. Then we started training processes for principal and alternate officials in 39 districts. That was the first phase..."

I interrupt to remind him of Ekrem İmamoğlu's call for action video four days ago. In that video, İmamoğlu said, "We need to be more present at the ballot boxes," asking for support from observers and lawyers. As I write these lines, I also share that there's an immediate need for about 100 more lawyers in Istanbul. Çelik explains:

"Voting will take place in 1980 schools. We have a lawyer in every school. However, in some schools with over 40 ballot boxes, we say, 'Let's have 3-4 lawyers.' There is no shortage; we received support from the bar association... But we are making this call: Apart from the principal and alternate ballot officials, there is also an observer, as you know... Why should there only be one person following the vote count in the classroom? We want there to be 10 people if necessary! That's why Ekrem Imamoglu made that call..."


I also call Mehmet Hadimi Yakupoğlu, CHP's Representative to the Supreme Election Council (YSK)... "As the YSK representative, can you say 'ballot security is ensured for the March 31 local elections'?" I ask. In summary, Yakupoğlu says:

"Looking at the decisions and circulars prepared by the YSK so far, we don't see a problem at this stage. But how will it manifest on the day? For instance, we can never finish an election in Şanlıurfa without our heads and eyes being battered. It's said, 'CHP didn’t protect so many ballot boxes!' But nobody discusses on what basis this claim is made. The answer is simple: You ask the YSK, the YSK informs the district election boards, and they count those who received their fees from political party members at the ballot box. And for example, if someone didn’t give their IBAN for daily payment or didn’t request it, those ballot boxes are considered empty. That is, those who signed the record are not looked at."

CHP's YSK representative makes another critical emphasis:

"I have the data of three major provinces right now. It shows how many ballot boxes each political party has reported members for. When you look at it, both the AKP and CHP have reported members for almost all ballot boxes in the three major provinces. But this doesn’t mean we will have our member at all ballot boxes on March 31. Because people might not go or, unfortunately, might be sick... In that case, what do we do? We seat our alternate member..."

Before I conclude...

I must add that, besides its existing municipalities, the CHP management is quite hopeful about winning districts like Beyoğlu, Silivri, Çatalca, Eyüpsultan, Arnavutköy, Üsküdar, Sancaktepe, and Bayrampaşa in Istanbul.

Yazarın Son Yazıları All Columns

Günün Köşe Yazıları

Most Read News