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Commission says independents can run in Turkish elections

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Commission says independents can run in Turkish elections


Faced with violent street protests and criticism from most of the country’s political parties, the Turkish electoral commission has reversed its decision taken on Monday to bar independent candidates from standing in the June 12 legislative elections.

Seven of them are Kurds, six of whom are backed by the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy or BDP party.

The ban brought tens of thousands of Kurds out into the streets of several cities in the mainly Kurdish south-east, and one demonstrator was shot dead. Several other people have been hospitalised.

The electoral commission reversed its ban after an eight-hour meeting amid fears that if it had not, the BDP would have boycotted the poll, raising the possibility of an escalation in the Kurdish conflict.

Kurds had already been angered by a controversial rule stating that any party wanting to have representatives sitting in parliament had to pass a 10 percent of the vote threshold. This forced the BDP to merely back independent Kurdish candidates rather than integrate them into the party machine.

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