Presidential candidates in Turkey able to campaign freely, but playing field not level, say international observers
ANKARA, 11 August 2014 – Three candidates, representing different political positions, were generally able to campaign freely, and freedoms of assembly and association were respected in the 10 August presidential election in Turkey, international election observers said in a statement issued today. However, the Prime Minister's use of his official position, along with biased media coverage, gave him a distinct advantage over the other candidates.
"This first direct presidential election demonstrated that there is a vibrant political life in Turkey, and the preliminary results show the potential for a healthy balance in political forces," said Vilija Aleknaite Abramikiene (MP, Lithuania), Special Co-ordinator of the short-term OSCE observer mission. "However, the challenges we have noted, particularly the imbalanced media coverage, must be overcome to fully live up to the democratic aspirations of the people."
The Supreme Board of Elections (SBE) and the election administration functioned in a professional manner, and there was overall confidence in the quality of the voter register, the preliminary statement notes. However, the absence of a right to appeal election administration decisions limits the ability to seek effective judicial remedy in case of election disputes.
"The presence of political party representatives in polling stations across the country yesterday is an important oversight mechanism," said Asa Lindestam (MP, Sweden), Head of the OSCE PA Delegation. "I hope that citizens and NGOs will also be given the right to observe in the future, bringing Turkey's dynamic civil society fully into the election process."
ANKARA, 8 August 2014 – Senior OSCE parliamentarians have arrived in Ankara to lead the OSCE's short-term observation mission for Turkey's presidential election this weekend.
Vilija Aleknaite Abramkiene (MP, Lithuania), the Special Co-ordinator of the OSCE's short-term observation mission, and Asa Lindestam (MP, Sweden), the Head of the OSCE PA Delegation of observers, are joining fellow parliamentarians for several days of briefings ahead of the 10 August vote.
"The conduct of the presidential election will be a key measure of Turkey's democratic progress. We hope to observe a vote that is free, fair and in line with OSCE commitments," Aleknaite Abramkiene said.
OSCE PA South Caucasus Representative urges fresh commitment from all sides to Nagorno-Karabakh resolution
COPENHAGEN, 5 August 2014 – Joao Soares (MP, Portugal), the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly's Special Representative on the South Caucasus, today expressed deep concern over recent deadly violence along the Line of Contact and the Armenian-Azerbaijani border and urged all parties to the conflict to recommit themselves to finding a peaceful resolution.
"The deteriorating security conditions and the current escalation in and around Nagorno-Karabakh demonstrate once again that the world cannot accept a conflict that remains 'frozen' for more than 20 years. All sides must refrain from acts of violence and provocation, especially against civilians, and urgently recommit themselves to a lasting, diplomatic resolution. The Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan must begin this week in Sochi," Soares said.
"The international community, and the OSCE, in particular, must also take a fresh look at efforts to resolve the conflict and consider new ideas and mechanisms that can be implemented," he added.
COPENHAGEN, 3 August 2014 – OSCE Parliamentary Assembly President Ilkka Kanerva (MP, Finland) issued the following statement today on the passing of Barbara Prammer, President of the Austrian National Council (Nationalrat) and Head of Austria's Delegation to the PA:
"The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly mourns the loss of our esteemed colleague and friend, Barbara Prammer. As President of the Austrian National Council and head of her country's Delegation to the OSCE PA, Barbara steadfastly supported the Assembly's work. She was a true leader, annually hosting and addressing the PA's Winter Meetings in Vienna, working for improved gender balance within the OSCE and overseeing one of the Assembly's most active national Delegations.
"On behalf of the entire OSCE PA, I extend my deepest condolences to the family and friends of Barbara Prammer and to the government and people of Austria at this difficult time," Kanerva said.