By Aylin Sirikli Dal
More than 57 million Turkish citizens are registered to vote at the local elections slated for March 31, the head of the country’s electoral authority said Tuesday.
The preliminary preparations for the local elections are almost complete and the current number of voters in Turkey is 57,970,985, Sadi Guven, head of the Supreme Election Council, told Anadolu Agency.
In response to claims that Syrians in Turkey will vote in the polls, Guven said it is not possible for those who are not Turkish citizens to cast a vote.
Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said on Sunday a total of 53,099 Syrians who have acquired Turkish citizenship will be able to vote in local elections.
A day after, Soylu said 553,000 security staff -- including the coast guard -- will be on duty to ensure safety during the election. Turkey had assigned 6,680 additional security personnel in 11 provinces and 12 districts to guard against any threats by the terrorist PKK to people's right to vote.
Nearly 56,495 voter registrations were frozen due to wrong declaration of permanent residence, Guven continued.
A total of 6,000 registered voters were removed from the voter list due to death, he added.
Local elections in Turkey
A total of 13 political parties will compete in the local elections.
Turkish local polls are held every five years to elect mayors of 30 metropolitan municipalities and 51 provincial municipalities.Turkish local polls are held every five years to elect mayors of 1,398 municipalities across the country. Among them are municipalities in 81 provinces, including 30 metropolitan municipalities and 921 districts.
Voters will also elect municipal council members in cities and -- in rural areas -- muhtars and members of elder councils.
The official election process kicked off in Jan. 1, with campaigning to begin on March 21.
Election campaigning will end on the evening of March 30, a day before the election.
The ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party and opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) agreed to support each other’s candidates in some districts and provinces, while the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Good (IYI) Party made same arrangement.
The last local elections were held on March 30, 2014, which saw the AK Party clinch more than 45.5 percent of the vote.
The last elections in Turkey were presidential and parliamentary elections which were held on June 24, 2018.
Jan. 27: Order of political parties’ names on ballot papers will be determined by lots drawn by the Supreme Election Council.
Feb. 22: Temporary lists of candidates for provincial and district mayors will be announced. Lists will be subject to appeal until March 3.
Feb. 28: Voter notification cards will begin being distributed (until March 24).
March 21: Campaigning period officially begins.
March 30: Campaigning period ends.
March 31: Election Day