Turkey’s ruling AKP drafts new electoral system with narrowed constituencies
Nuray Babacan / Turan Yılmaz ANKARA / Hürriyet
The change in the electoral system may play in AKP's favor, enabling it to increase its number of lawmakers by 25. AA Photo
Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has prepared a draft bill on a new electoral system based on narrowed constituencies, which is expected to allow it to increase its number of lawmakers by 25.
The AKP is also considering pulling down the current 10 percent parliamentary threshold to 7 or 5 percent. The draft law has to be enacted before Parliament’s scheduled recess on June 12 to be applied during the general elections next year.
Work on the draft law is currently being conducted at the party’s headquarters and the Justice Ministry. Turkey currently uses the proportional electoral system where each of the parties win the percentage of seats, which is equal to the percentage of votes in each province, with only Istanbul being divided into three constituencies and Ankara in two.
According to the new draft, which represents similarities with the system used during the 1991 general elections, Turkey would be divided into 90 constituencies, with five seats each. Istanbul would be divided into 17 constituencies, Ankara into six and İzmir into four.
The change may cause fresh tense debates, as it is seen as one that would clearly favor the AKP in all of the regions and the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) in the Kurdish constituencies. The Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) is expected to experience the most loss in the number of lawmakers, followed by the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP).
The narrowed constituency system had been a long subject of debate, particularly after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan gave support to such change when asked about reducing the parliamentary threshold. However, the initial proposition was shelved after opposition parties categorically did not back it.
The AKP had also raised the possibility of 100 lawmakers to be elected proportionally on the basis of the general national vote percentage.
The electoral packages may also comprise other legal provisions on transparency regarding the parties’ spending during the campaigns.