AKP plans for the ‘electoral system’

AKP plans for the ‘electoral system’

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
AKP plans for the ‘electoral system’

The AKP has prepared three draft bills for three electoral change options, but none have received approval. DAILY NEWS photo, Emrah GÜREL

An amendment in the electoral system was one of the most significant topics in the democratization package, announced by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Sept. 30.

It seemed that the calls of the opposition, particularly from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), over the decrease of the election threshold were responded to with this package.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan suggested three alternatives to be discussed regarding the electoral system on Sept. 30. Keeping the system unchanged, lowering the 10 percent threshold for a political party to enter Parliament to 5 percent along with narrowing electoral constituencies to five seats, or canceling the electoral threshold completely and establishing a narrowed constituency model.

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) spokespersons waited for opposition parties’ suggestions over the electoral system. However, no opposition party has yet submitted any suggestions to the AKP via official or unofficial channels. The AKP has prepared three draft bills for each three electoral change options and submitted them to Erdoğan’s approval. None of these bills have received approval yet. There are different scenarios accounting for this.

Some say the AKP avoided making amendments without participation of the opposition parties to prevent tension before the local elections.

Others suggest the scenario that the AKP wanted to avoid a reaction of the electorate in the western part of the country who might take the amendment as concessions to the BDP and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

The main reason is different, according to other scenarios. “Erdoğan has made his suggestion for the electoral system and waited. The opposition did not respond to it. AKP alone can change this law but does not want to do this before the elections. Erdoğan will use it as a card against the opposition during the elections campaign. He will particularly accuse the CHP and the (opposition Nationalist Movement Party) MHP of refraining from decreasing the election threshold. He will press against the BDP in the region. He will decide on that after the elections…”

After the local election, the narrowed constituency model, single-member district system and the current system will be analyzed by the AKP and an amendment will be made after deciding whether it will benefit the AKP. The ruling party may use these amendments against the opposition during bargains before the presidential elections.

The timing will be important as well. The constitution’s article 67 says that the amendments in the electoral system that can affect the elections come into effect a year after the enforcement of the amendment.

The local elections are set for March 30, 2014; general elections scheduled for June 12, 2015. The AKP has to make amendments two months after the local elections to use them in the general elections. Ankara is entering a time of detailed calculations…

AKP may enter the race with female candidate in İzmir

It is claimed that the Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan wants to nominate Transportation Minister Binali Yıldırım for İzmir municipality in the local elections, but Yıldırım is unwilling for that post. It is claimed that Erdoğan will nominate a surprise candidate for İzmir rather than sending Yıldırım unwillingly. Erdoğan might use a “female candidate” card for İzmir, which he has been seeking to take from the Republican People’s Party (CHP) for a long time. Prof. Nükhet Hotar, current deputy leader of the AKP who worked as İzmir Deputy from the party before, is likely to be the candidate, if Erdoğan decides on female candidates. Hotar is among the names Erdoğan trusts most.

Will wise people be next?

I had written in my column the previous week that there would be a “visitors initiative” in İmralı Island, and the People’s Democracy Party (HDP) would be included with those visiting Abdullah Öcalan… the rumors became reality and HDP Istanbul deputy Sırrı Süreyya Önder will attend the BDP deputies’ visit to İmralı. It is also whispered that there will be one more step over the moves concerning Öcalan until the New Year. My source said “a small delegation of wise people might be allowed to visit the island,” when I asked “what is the next step now?” The same source said that it is almost impossible to expect major steps before the local elections.