AKP will not propose lowering presidential vote requirement to 40 percent: Erdoğan
The Turkish government does not plan changing any regulation to lower the vote requirement to 40 percent to elect a president by popular vote, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Oct. 1.
“We brought the new system to parliament, and our people approved the change by majority. We cannot bring this change to parliament as it will not suit the political seriousness,” Erdoğan told reporters.
“Bringing this issue to parliament is not ours but the opposition’s job,” he added.
Erdoğan also said his government is open to considering any discussion from the opposition.
A debate on this issue will not be appropriate because the Turkish nation wants to see “serious politicians,” he said. Erdoğan noted that there is still a long time ahead of the 2023 elections.
Parliament Speaker Mustafa Şentop also insisted that 50 percent should remain as the threshold.
The issue was raised by former minister Faruk Çelik who suggested that the presidential elections should allow 40 percent of support in the first round to be elected.
In April 2017, the Turkish people voted to switch Turkey from a parliamentary system to an executive presidential system of governance.
It’s been more than a year since Erdoğan was sworn-in to office with extended powers. The introduction of the new presidential system is the biggest overhaul of governance since the Turkish republic was established on the ruins of the Ottoman Empire nearly a century ago.
The post of prime minister was scrapped and the president can select a cabinet, regulate ministries and remove civil servants, all without parliamentary approval.
Yet the new system requires more than 50 percent of votes for the election of the president, obligating the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to seek alliances to reach 50+1 percent of votes.
In the March 31 local elections across the country, the AKP, in alliance with the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), held 51.63 percent of the overall vote, while the opposition alliance took 37.55 percent.
After the local elections, a cabinet reshuffle along with a change of party organization was expected over the AKP’s failure in big municipalities.
But Erdoğan also refused the unending claims on the cabinet reshuffle.
The Turkish government is not planning a cabinet reshuffle at the moment, Erdoğan added.
“Right now, there is no such thing,” said Erdoğan.
Erdoğan formed the first presidential cabinet after the general elections on June 24, 2018, with questions on whether another one would happen in the near future still lingers.