Turkish main opposition insists on reducing election threshold to 3 percent
Republican People’s Party (CHP) Deputy Head Sezgin Tanrıkulu. AA PhotoA day after Turkey's Constitutional Court dismissed individual complaints filed to lower the 10 percent parliamentary threshold, the main opposition party submitted a fresh bill to Parliament to reduce the election threshold to 3 percent "for fairer representation."
“Justice in representation is a must of contemporary democracies. An election threshold of 3 percent would increase the representativeness of Parliament. Increasing the number of political parties entering Parliament will not bring about a mess, but rather pluralism, a prerequisite of democracy,” read the reasoning for the draft bill introduced Jan. 7 by Republican People’s Party (CHP) Deputy Head Sezgin Tanrıkulu.
The CHP’s move came just a day after the Constitutional Court ruled that it has no authority to review the existing law stipulating the implementation of a 10 percent parliamentary election threshold, meaning the highest threshold in Europe will be valid for the upcoming polls in June.
In general, the political parties are in favor of lowering the threshold but cannot agree on its technicalities, and the opposition parties accuse the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) of insincerity.
“The implementation of a 10 percent election threshold in the proportional representation system is the major obstacle in front of the people’s right to be represented [in Parliament],” Tanrıkulu stressed.
The 10 percent election threshold was inserted into the electoral system by the military junta in 1982, right after the coup d’état of 1980. Although many ruling parties have voiced their opposition to the high election threshold, they have each failed to lower it mainly due to concerns that their parliamentary dominance would be damaged.
“The AKP government is constantly talking about ‘the national will,' but this rhetoric should now be put into practice as a necessity of genuine and functioning democracies,” Tanrıkulu said.
There were several applications to the Constitutional Court to lift the election threshold, which is one of the highest in the world. However, the Court has decided that the applications were inadmissible due to non-competence by a majority of votes, not unanimously, unlike several of its recent decisions.