New election law may keep 10 pct threshold

New election law may keep 10 pct threshold

Nuray Babacan – ANKARA
New election law may keep 10 pct threshold

A draft law making changes to the current electoral regulations may see that Turkey’s current 10 percent national election threshold is also valid for the alliance formed between political parties in the country, sources have revealed.

This implies that even if one of the parties in the alliance falls below the 10 percent threshold, if the total percentage of the votes each party receives passes the threshold, the parties will enter the parliament.

The move has come after Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli had voiced a demand to lower the threshold, which the Justice and Development Party (AKP) had ruled out, eventually leading to a pre-election alliance between the two parties.

As the current legislation does not allow pre-election alliances, officials from both parties gathered twice in January to work on legal amendments for what they call a “national alliance” they want to form for the 2019 elections.

Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gül, parliament’s constitutional commission head Mustafa Şentop and AKP spokesperson Mahir Ünal, as well as MHP lawmakers Mehmet Parsak, Mustafa Kalaycı and İsmail Faruk Aksu, have undertaken work on the set of legal changes to the election law and political parties’ law. The changes will be ready to be presented to both party leaders in 10 days, according to sources.

The AKP and MHP officials are said to have agreed to a great extent on the framework of the legal regulations paving the way for political parties in Turkey to form an alliance for the elections.

Accordingly, the political parties in the alliance will have their own emblems on the paper ballots, but will also have another sign featuring their “alliance” on the ballots.

According to the proposed draft law, the political parties prior to the election will apply to the Supreme Electoral Council (YSK) if they have formed any alliance with another party. The voter who has balloted for their party will also be considered to have voted for the alliance.

The AKP and MHP officials have also been discussing a change to the law covering elections at the local level, but works regarding the changes have not been finalized.

As for the alliance for the presidential election, there are no legal regulations needed.

The AKP-MHP alliance commission have also analyzed other countries in their meetings, in which pre-election alliances were allowed, such as Hungary. The officials have evaluated the ballot this country had used in the last elections, but have arrived at the conclusion that the system used in Hungary would not be applicable for Turkey, as despite having the existence of pre-election alliances, each party would still need to pass a 5 percent threshold.