AKP, MHP to press button for ‘People’s Alliance’
The pre-election alliance to be formed by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) will be called the “People’s Alliance,” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said, one day before a legislative proposal on the issue is submitted to parliament.
“You can call it the People’s Alliance,” Erdoğan said on Feb. 20, answering reporters’ questions following the AKP’s parliamentary group meeting.
A 26-article legislative package preparing the legal basis for a pre-election alliance and changes in regulations in election procedures will be submitted to the Parliament Speaker’s Office on Feb. 21.
Following “22 hours of work in nine separate meetings,” the “National Alliance Commission” has prepared a draft proposal, finalized after MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli and Erdoğan’s meeting on Feb. 18, Bahçeli told his party group at parliament on Feb. 20.
The legislative package includes provisions that will allow political parties to enter into elections as an alliance, while keeping their political party emblem on ballot papers and maintaining the 10 percent electoral threshold.
The MHP has been insisting on keep its political identity especially in parliamentary elections, as it wants to keep a record of the votes it has received and continue to enjoy Treasury grants.
Turkey will hold joint parliamentary and presidential elections in 2019, with the AKP and the MHP heralding President Erdoğan as their joint candidate in the vote for the position of president. After the vote a constitutional amendment shifting Turkey to an executive presidential system will fully go into effect.
With the new regulation, political parties in an alliance will be located next to each other on ballot papers, while the name of the alliance will be written above their emblems. The votes of the parties will be counted separately and the sum of their votes will make up the alliance’s vote.
In alliances where there are more than two political parties, a party could prepare a joint list of lawmakers with one political party while preparing a separate list of lawmakers with other. For example, if an alliance is formed between the AKP, the MHP and the religious nationalist Grand Unity Party (BBP), the AKP could prepare a joint list with the BBP while the MHP could enter the alliance with its own list.
Also according to the regulation, the 10 percent threshold will apply to the sum of the votes of the alliance, not for the parties in particular. This comes amid worries in the MHP that the party will fall below the 10 percent threshold.
Also, individuals from different political parties and leaders of a political party can enter into election in the list of an alliance without resigning from their parties.
The package also includes amendments to election procedures. Accordingly, the authorities of the ballot box officials will be expanded for upcoming elections, granting them the authority to appeal to police forces during vote counts.
The provision will also allow citizens to file a formal complaint about ballot box officers.
In eastern and southeastern provinces, meanwhile, some of the ballot boxes will be relocated “not far away from their original location.” This move was proposed by the AKP in previous elections but not accepted by the Supreme Board of Elections.