Legislation on election alliance submitted to parliament

Legislation on election alliance submitted to parliament

Legislation on election alliance submitted to parliament

The legislative proposal, which paves the way for a pre-election alliance, has been submitted to the parliament by joint commission members of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).

“The 26-article proposal makes amendments in different laws on electorates, local elections and political parties. Not all of the articles are about election alliances. There are changes about local elections. Some changes are about previous experiences and election security,” said Parliamentary Constitutional Commission head and AKP lawmaker Mustafa Şentop at a press conference on Feb. 21, which was held after the legal package was submitted.

A joint commission of AKP and MHP members had finalized work on the legal package, which took its final shape after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli’s meeting on Feb. 18.

The package includes provisions that will allow political parties to enter into elections as an alliance while keeping their political party emblem in the ballot box papers. This is not possible under the current laws, according to which if parties want to form a coalition, it would only be possible if one party enters an election under another party’s political roof.

With the new regulation, the political emblems of all the political parties in an alliance will be located in the ballot papers next to each other, while the name of the alliance will be written above their logos.

The regulation keeps the 10 percent electoral threshold but it will apply to the sum of the votes of the alliance, not in particular for the parties within the alliance. The number of the lawmakers will also be determined according to the sum of the votes of the alliance.

The MHP has been demanding to keep its political identity in the elections, especially in parliamentary elections, as it wants to keep a record of the votes it has received and continue to enjoy Treasury grants accordingly. It had been concerned that its votes would fall below the 10 percent threshold.

The AKP, on the other hand, necessitates 50 percent of the votes in presidential elections to make Erdoğan’s future presidency possible, and its electoral percentage is estimated to be around 40 to 45 percent.

With the regulation, parties in an alliance can prepare both a joint list of lawmakers or introduce separate lists. Individuals and party leaders can also enter into an alliance personally without resigning from their parties.

The package also includes provisions concerning “election safety,” according to which the ballot boxes could be relocated over security reasons and constituencies can also be unified or mixed.

The move has been proposed by the AKP in previous elections, especially for eastern and southeastern provinces, but it has not been accepted by Turkey’s Supreme Election Board (YSK).

The regulation also changes the definition of “the area of a ballot box,” which paves a way for private security officers, armed personnel and municipal officers to enter ballot box rooms. It also allows citizens to file a complaint about ballot box officers or voting procedures, which also allows police forces to be present in the ballot rooms.

With the regulation, the unsealed ballot papers will also be regarded valid. The YSK’s decision to regard the unsealed papers valid has been harshly criticized by the opposition for causing voting irregularities in the previous election.

CHP criticizes the alliance

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) spokesperson Bülent Tezcan criticized the AKP-MHP coalition, arguing that it aims to “form a one-man regime.”

“There is a one-man coalition and this coalition has only one aim, which is to implement a one-man regime,” Tezcan said following the CHP’s Central Executive Board meeting on Feb. 21.

He also said the regulations concerning the alliance aim to make Erdoğan win in the following presidential elections.