Supreme Election Council of Turkey resolves to deny certificates of election to mayor-elect expellees
A Supreme Election Council resolution will deny certificates of election to mayors-elect who have been expelled under decrees with the force of law.
Photograph: Raşit Aydoğan/AA
The Supreme Election Council (SEC) has resolved not to give certificates of election to mayors-elect who have been expelled under decrees with the force law (DFL). Instead of these people, certificates of election will be given to those who came second in places where the former won the election.
The SEC has resolved not to give certificates of election to candidates who have been expelled under DFLs. The council is said to have cited by way of grounds for this resolution the ruling passed by Chamber No 8 of the Council of State in 2017 ordering “those expelled under DFLs to be stripped of municipal assembly membership.”
The SEC adduced the provisions contained in the relevant statute and DFL, “Those whose posts are so ended may not be employed in public service once again and may not take up a post in public institutions and entities.”
It has emerged that the resolution to deny certificates of election to mayor-elects who had been expelled under DFLs was passed unanimously, while the section of the resolution for the second-placed candidate to be given the certificate of election was taken by majority vote.
It appears that the four members who dissented from the majority opinion argued that the election should be reheld in these places.
In certain sub-provinces, objections had been made to the SEC about the winning candidates in the elections saying they had been expelled from their professions under DFLs.
NAMES OF THE DFL-AFFECTED CANDIDATES
The DFL-affected candidates fielded by the HDP as mayoral candidates are as follow:
Van’s Edremit sub-province: Gülcan Kaçmaz Sayyiğit
Van’s Tuşba sub-province: Yılmaz Berki
Van’s Çaldıran sub-province: Leyla Atsak
Diyarbakır’s Bağlar sub-province: Zeyyat Ceylan
Kars Dağpınar Municipality: Abubekir Erkmen
Erzurum Tekman Municipality: Müzahit Karakuş
Second placed in the elections won by the DFL-affected candidates were the AKP’s candidates.
JURISTS’ REACTIONS TO THE SEC’S RESOLUTION
Jurists have come out in opposition to the scandalous SEC resolution to deny certificates of election following electoral victory to candidates whose candidacy applications it had approved by affirming their eligibility to stand for election.
Kamil Tekin Sürek, Attorney-at-Law, assessed the SEC’s resolution on the DFL-affected elected candidates for Evrensel.
ATTORNEY SÜREK: DFLS HAVE NO FORCE WHEN THE STATE OF EMERGENCY ENDS
Attorney Sürek said, “Decisions passed under Decrees with the Force of Law are effective for the duration of the state of emergency. When the state of emergency ends, they have absolutely no force. Moreover, decisions passed in relation to expellees under DFLs are actually being thrown out of the Administrative Court or the commission. So, a decision speaking of ineligibility for reappointment is impossible.”
Saying, “There is no circumstance whereby expellees under DFLs are guilty before the law. They cannot be held to have been convicted. Expulsion under DFLs was purely an administrative measure. It invites two means of recourse: the Administrative Court or the commission. The Administrative Court has ruled in favour of expellees in many applications,” Attorney Sürek commented, “The elected candidates have no right of objection because it was the SEC that passed the resolution, but application may be made to the relevant Administrative Court in respect of this resolution.”
“WHILE DFL EXPELLEES CAN BE ELECTED TO PARLIAMENT, WHY CAN’T THEY BE ELECTED MAYORS?”
Recalling that certain DFL expellees had been elected to parliament, Sürek said, “While one bunch can be elected to parliament, why can’t they be elected mayors? The SEC approved them but they can’t be elected mayors. This beggars belief.”
Turning to the allegation that certificates of election will be given to those who came second in the election, Sürek commented, “Under normal circumstances, the first placed is given the certificate of election, a vote is held in the municipal assembly and the person who got most votes becomes mayor. It is totally out of order to give the certificate of election to the second-placed person.”
“THEY WERE ABLE TO CONTEST THE ELECTION BECAUSE THEY HAD ELIGIBILITY TO STAND”
Recalling, “The DFL victims apply and contest the election because they have eligibility to stand. They now speak of con-compliance with the eligibility criteria. This beggars belief because the eligibility criteria were examined at the outset. The candidacy process takes place under the supervision of the electoral councils anyhow,” Sürek said, “So, there can be no talk of not meeting the eligibility criteria after the election.”
AKAR: NEVER MIND THE LAW, THE SEC FEELS NO OBLIGATION EVEN TO ADHERE TO STATUTE
Tweeting about the SEC’s resolution on the DFL-affected candidates, former Diyarbakır Bar Association Chair Mehmet Emin Aktar also characterized the resolution passed by the SEC as “illegal and illegitimate.” Aktar said in his post about the SEC’s resolution, “Article 130/5 of the Law on Basic Electoral Provisions number 298 expressly and limitatively enumerates the situations in which a candidate can be objected to. Never mind the law, the SEC feels no obligation even to adhere to statute. The resolution on the elected DFL expellees is both illegal and illegitimate.”
Along with this comment, Aktar posted Article 130/5 of the Law on Basic Electoral Provisions and Voters Rolls number 298 together with Article 16 of the Law on the Electing of Local Authorities along with Quarter Heads and Councils of Elders number 6319.
WHAT DOES THE LAW SAY?
Article 130/5 of the Law on Basic Electoral Provisions and Voters Rolls number 298 says the following: “However, once candidacy has become final, objection may not be made to candidates for reasons apart from claims that the candidate is not Turkish, their age is below that prescribed in the law, they are illiterate or have received a conviction that disqualifies them from eligibility for election. This provision also applies to extraordinary objections.”
Article 16 on “Announcement of candidates” of the Law on the Electing of Local Authorities along with Quarter Heads and Councils of Elders number 6319 for its part reads as follows:
“Article 16 – Once candidacy has become final, sub-provincial election councils shall announce all candidates on the twentieth day prior to the polling day. Once candidacy has been announced, withdrawals of candidacy shall not be entertained until after the election. However, should such persons be elected, their withdrawals shall take effect and the person who came next to them shall be deemed to have been elected in their place. The same procedure shall be adopted in the case of death.”
FIRST REACTION FROM HDP’S DFL-AFFECTED CANDIDATE: THE RESOLUTION PASSED IS POLITICAL
The first reaction to the Supreme Election Council’s (SEC) scandalous resolution denying certificates of election to DFL-affected persons whose candidacy it had approved seeing no legal obstacle when they contested the election came from DFL-affected Zeyyat Ceylan, who has been elected as the HDP’s Bağlar Municipality Co-Mayor.
The HDP’s Ceylan said of the resolution the SEC had passed, “The resolution has no connection with the law, justice and conscience. The resolution passed is political. The first author of it is the SEC. The second author, in turn, is the AKP.”
“THE SEC DID NOT DO WHAT IT WAS SUPPOSED TO IN THE APPLICATION PROCESS”
Recalling that they petitioned the SEC on 19 February to apply for candidacy and the necessary investigations were conducted over a period of thirteen days, Ceylan noted, “The SEC or provincial or sub-provincial election councils could have prevented us from contesting the elections. It could have vetoed our candidacy as it did in Batman (Sabri Özdemir). Our party could have fielded a different candidate as in Batman. But this was not done. There was a thirteen-day period. An investigation could have been conducted in this time. An alert could have been made. The SEC did not perform the necessary task at that time.”
“OUR PEOPLE’S WILL HAS BEEN USURPED”
Stressing that with the resolution that was passed the people’s will had been usurped, Ceylan noted, “A scenario was prepared. Our municipalities are being usurped in this way and given to the AKP. The name of this is illegality. As much as it is a political decision, at the same time it is a usurpation of will.”
Zeyyat Ceylan, who obtained the highest vote in the poll for Mayor of Bağlar, one of the HDP’s firmest strongholds in Diyarbakır, was expelled under a DFL that was issued while he was serving as a teacher.
Winner with 70.34% of the vote in Bağlar sub-province, application was made by the AKP’s candidate to the SEC for the HDP’s Ceylan’s disqualification as candidate.
The HDP and the other elected candidates have also voiced opposition to the ruling. The HDP has criticized the SEC, deeming its decision to deny certificates of election to those DFL-affected individuals who won the elections as a “contrived political plot,” for “setting a trap” (EVRENSEL DAILY)
(Translated by Tim Drayton)