AKP, CHP in a fresh spat over election alliance bill

AKP, CHP in a fresh spat over election alliance bill

AKP, CHP in a fresh spat over election alliance bill

Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) have engaged in a new war of words over the former’s move to allow political parties to form pre-election alliances.

The AKP’s alliance push comes as a result of an agreement with the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) ahead of key 2019 elections.

“It’s an alliance for the [election] threshold. The AKP wants to resolve its 50 percent threshold with the MHP and the MHP wants to cross the 10 percent election threshold through the AKP,” CHP Deputy Parliamentary Group Chair Özgür Özel told reporters on Feb. 22.

“They have identified the problem and its solution. The problem is that the MHP can only get six percent of the vote. So the MHP will enter parliament through the votes of the AKP,” Özel said.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan needs to get at least 50 percent plus one vote in the upcoming presidential elections, scheduled for November 2019, while the MHP needs to get 10 percent in order to pass the minimum threshold to enter parliament. In a bid to aid this process, the two parties have come together, recently submitting a bill to parliament changes key laws to allow political parties’ pre-election alliances.

The AKP and the MHP have dubbed their own partnership ahead of the 2019 parliamentary and presidential elections the “People’s Alliance.”

Özel vowed that the CHP will use all political means to prevent the bill from being legislated both at the parliamentary commission and at the General Assembly, also underlining that the changes will undermine the security of polls and the vote-counting process.

AKP officials have defended the move as being in line with the result of the April 2017 referendum, which narrowly approved a shift to an executive presidential system but which was contested by the opposition.

“We have said many times that the door is not closed to anybody who wants to be part of the alliance. In fact, it was the CHP itself that sought [to establish an alliance] before April 2017 referendum,” Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ told state-run Anadolu Agency in an interview on Feb. 22.

Bozdağ suggested that the CHP would seek to form a similar alliance with the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) ahead of the presidential election.

“We hope they will behave as honestly and openly as we are. They should ally with the HDP and run together in the elections. It would be better for them not to deceive the public,” he said.

CHP head, fresh spat,