AKP, MHP strike agreement on pre-election alliance legal package

AKP, MHP strike agreement on pre-election alliance legal package

AKP, MHP strike agreement on pre-election alliance legal package

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) have agreed on a 26-article legislative package that would pave the way for formal a pre-election alliance, following a face-to-face meeting between President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and MHP head Devlet Bahçeli.

The package is expected to be submitted to parliament on Feb. 21, parliament’s Constitutional Commission head Mustafa Şentop told reporters on Feb. 18.

“In the meeting the text was discussed and all aspects were clarified with full negotiation. After a few days of work on technical details, a 26-article legislative proposal will be submitted to the Parliamentary Speaker’s Office on Feb. 21,” Şentop said.

His comments came after Erdoğan and Bahçeli had a meeting to finalize a draft that formulates an alliance model for parliamentary and presidential elections due to be held in 2019.

The AKP and the MHP have been in partnership since the MHP initiated and gave full support to a controversial constitutional amendment bringing in an executive presidential system, which will grant sweeping powers to the president-elect.

The presidential election necessitates at least 50 percent of the votes for a president to be elected in the first round and the AKP’s polling at present estimates the party to be at around 40 to 45 percent.

Polls also indicate a drop in the MHP’s votes with Bahçeli’s support to constitutional change, which has been criticized by the opposition for paving the way for an even more authoritarian system in Turkey.

As current laws do not permit a formal pre-election alliance, a joint commission was formed by the AKP and the MHP to find a solution for the 2019 elections.

“In the text, there are measures about election alliances. We have lifted the provisions that prohibit such alliances and introduced basic regulations about how such an election alliance between parties can be made,” Şentop said.

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 reportedly include all parties so that voters can vote for the party of their choice, rather than voting for a single alliance or coalition together.

Şentop also claimed that the legislative change will focus on “election security” in order to “address all obstacles preventing the electorate from voting with its free will.”

It has been reported that the authorities of ballot box officials will be expanded for upcoming elections, granting them the authority to appeal to police forces during vote counts.