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Election observers report on Turkish parliamentary elections

Parliamentary elections in Turkey were characterized by high participation and strong and active political but “tainted” by violence, according to election observers.

The international election monitors, which included a Parliamentary Assembly delegation, warned today that the country’s 10 per cent threshold “limited political pluralism.”

They added: “Media freedom is an area of serious concern, with media outlets and individual journalists critical of the ruling party being subject to pressure and intimidation during the campaign.

“Fundamental freedoms were generally respected. Unfortunately, the campaign was tainted by a high number of attacks on party offices and serious incidents of physical attacks, some resulting in fatalities.”

Tiny Kox, head of the assembly delegation for the 7 June vote, said: “We praise the active participation of citizens, the high voter turnout and the broad observation activities by parties, as well as by citizen observer groups, which in the future should be granted legal status.

“The 10 per cent threshold limits political pluralism, and we continue to urge that it be lowered substantially.”

Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland declared: “Turkey is an important member of the European family. Yesterday’s legislative elections have shown the strong commitment of the Turkish people to democracy and their determination to use their democratic voice.

“I look forward to working closely with the new government, when it is formed, to further strengthen democracy, human rights and the rule of law in Turkey.”

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