AKP, MHP leaders meet to finalize election alliance model for upcoming elections
The leaders of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) met on Feb. 18 in order to finalize a weeks-long negotiation to formulate an alliance model for the upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections.
The meeting which lasted for 40 minutes and brought together President and AKP Chairman Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and MHP Chairman Devlet Bahçeli at the presidential office to evaluate a draft model drafted by a joint commission. The leaders were expected to go through the draft and decide the name of the alliance to be formed between the AKP and the MHP.
“I want to thank Mr. Bahçeli, on my behalf and on behalf of my party, for his honorable and honest stance since the July 2016 coup attempt,” Erdoğan said in an address to his party’s Ankara provincial convention on Feb. 18.
“I hope this initiative, which we have launched under the motto ‘When the issue is the homeland, the rest is just details,’ will bring good fortune for our people and our country,” he said, speaking ahead of his planned meeting with Bahçeli.
Erdoğan also stated that the alliance would mark a “first in Turkish political history” that political parties with “similar national sentiments have decided to move forward together.”
“The national alliance” has been frequently used by both leaders in recent weeks after they decided to partner for the presidential and parliamentary polls slated for November 2019.
Erdoğan needs every possible vote to get elected as the executive-president in 2019, which requires at least 50 percent plus one vote. Meanwhile the MHP needs to gain at least 10 percent of votes to enter parliament as current public opinion polls suggest the nationalist party is unlikely to pass the threshold. Bahçeli, in a statement in early January, had declared that his party would not field a candidate for the presidency but would support Erdoğan’s bid instead.
The model the two parties have been working on stipulates a change on the election and political parties’ laws, which currently prohibit pre-election alliances.
The new legislation will maintain Turkey’s high 10-percent electoral threshold on parties entering parliament, while paving the way for the representation of party coalitions on ballot papers. Ballot papers will include all parties so voters can vote for the party of their choice, rather than voting for a single “alliance” or coalition together.
After a number of allegations of fraud in the knife-edge April 2017 referendum, the AKP and the MHP have also reportedly agreed on expanding the authorities of ballot box officials, granting them the authority to appeal to the police during future vote counts.
The legislative package is expected to be submitted to parliament in the coming weeks.