AKP may change election law along with constitution
ANKARAThe government may try to change the election law along with the new constitution, ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Deputy Parliamentary Group Chair Mustafa Elitaş has said, without detailing whether this change would also decrease the much-criticized 10 percent threshold.
“We are also thinking about changing the election law along with the new constitution,” Elitaş told private broadcaster CNN Türk in an interview on Oct. 20.
He did not signal a decrease in Turkey’s prohibitive 10 percent threshold, but he did suggest that constituencies would be narrowed in order to allow each city to be represented at parliament in accordance with its population.
Although Elitaş spoke about a change to the election system, he ruled out holding a snap parliamentary election in 2017, vowing the government’s their commitment to go to polls in October 2019 as scheduled.
“As the AK Party [Justice and Development Party], we have no plans to hold early elections [next year].
Parliamentary elections will be held as already planned,” Elitaş said upon a question on whether the AKP would opt for snap election in the event that its efforts to change the constitution are rejected either at parliament or in the planned referendum.
Elitaş echoed other AKP officials in forecasting that a referendum on the new constitution, including a shift to a presidential system, would take place in spring 2016, after parliament votes on the amendment in January.
The AKP needs at least 14 extra votes to have a constitutional amendment passed at parliament and taken to a referendum.
Devlet Bahçeli, the head of the 40-seat Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), last week signaled his party’s potential support for an AKP-drafted charter if it was to “take the MHP’s sensitivities into account.”
“We know very well that Mr. Bahçeli is a man who won’t back down from his word. We are working with the belief that we’ll get more than 330 votes at parliament,” Elitaş said.
The AKP is still drafting its presidential model but it will not make substantial changes to articles regulating the executive, the legislation and the judiciary, he stressed, noting that there will be around 20 articles in the new charter on the presidential system.
“Other legal necessities will be carried out either through legal changes or regulations, but only after the presidential system is approved by the people,” Elitaş added.
The AKP will begin its annual camp with the participation of all lawmakers and party officials on Oct. 21, discussing the constitutional amendments and future political developments.