AKP co-founder: "Elections should urgently be postponed"
A co-founder of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), former speaker of the parliament and a member of Turkish Presidency High Advisory Board till November 2020, said that the elections should be postponed because of the earthquake.
Bulent Arinc posted a written statement on Twitter on Monday, saying:
"Our citizens our struggling for survival right now, not for the elections. While this is the situation, we observe that some politicians and journalists debate whether the elections should be held on May or June. Beware of God, there are still corpses under the rubble. How can you speak of elections while one cannot speak of the voters? [bold letters by Arinc] Are you planning to make election propaganda to our citizens who are faced only with their griefs? Will you ask for their votes? Will you nominate yourselves, hold meetings? How will you have the nerve to do these? There are no voters around, nor any ballot boxes. Besides, there is no judicial or administrative bureaucracy left in the region."
"Don't you think the people will say to you, 'What are you trying to achieve while the people are trying to survive?' The provinces that have been exposed to this catastrophe, a population of approximately 15 million, are represented in the Turkish Grand National Assembly with 85 deputies. The situation is so grim that there are no voters left in those places. Neither the electoral registers are any longer valid, nor holding an election is legally and practically possible any longer. Probably the Supreme Election Council will reassess, through a census, the number of deputies to represent these provinces before the elections are held."
"At a time when we are going through probably the greatest catastrophe we have faced in our history, the country should be free of any election stress as soon soon as possible. Both our citizens and the bureaucracy and the politics need that. The elections should urgently be postponed so that the state bureaucracy can focus only to mend the wounds of our citizens. This is not an option but an imperative."
Arinc asserted that provisions of the constitution can be dismissed in the process. He said:
"It will suffice to say to those who cite article 78 of the Constitution and who state that the elections may be postponed only due to war: Yes, there is such a provision, but constitutions are not sacred texts, they are legal texts. The legislation can always repeal an article of the constitution and amend it."
Arinc suggested that the article 78 is amended with the support of opposition parties to include earthquakes and other disasters besides warfare to justify postponement of elections.
He also suggested that the parliamentary and presidential elections are held in 2024, alongside the local elections.
Arinc's statement has been viewed by Twitter users 2.4 million times in only a couple of hours.