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Aug 09 2018

Turkish far-right coalition partners want law to punish inaccurate polls

The junior party in Turkey’s governing coalition has announced that it is seeking to pass a new law that would threaten pollsters with prison sentences for misleading the public, opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet said.

Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) deputy head Mevlüt Karakaya said that the new bill would punish polling researchers with between two and five years in jail for presenting fake, incorrect, misleading or insufficient data in order to mislead or affect public opinion, as well as fining polling companies up to 10 times the fee they were paid for the research.

The bill would also force pollsters to reveal their sources of funding, and prevent them from retaining the personal data of polling subjects for other purposes, Karakaya said.

The Turkish Statistical Institute will also create standards required for those who are working as a pollster or setting up a new polling agency, he added.

Most polls underestimated the MHP’s support at the June 24 elections, a fact that some have attributed to a last-minute defection of voters from the ruling Justice and Development Party to the more nationalistic, but still pro-government, MHP.

MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli, however, attributed the low polling numbers to “a dishonourable conspiracy” by pollsters.