Gov’t signals pre-election alliance for 2019 elections

Gov’t signals pre-election alliance for 2019 elections

Hande Fırat - ANKARA
Gov’t signals pre-election alliance for 2019 elections

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has signaled a legal amendment could be put forth to allow political parties to form alliances before the upcoming parliamentary elections, amid discussions on a potential decrease of the current 10 percent electoral threshold.

“With 50 percent plus one [vote for presidency], political stability comes. In this respect, when we take these into consideration, pre-election alliance can be considered. It can be elaborated,” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told journalists on his return flight from Qatar late Nov. 15.

The current election law does not allow political parties to form pre-election alliances. The government has to change the law in a bid to harmonize it with constitutional amendments.

Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli had suggested the current electoral threshold be lowered, with concerns that his party could remain below 10 percent in upcoming polls in 2019.

But Erdoğan had said there are no legislative efforts in reducing the electoral threshold.

“In my opinion, this can be said that it is early for such a discussion. But as a country, we have experience and memory on the threshold issue. We have to look at the issue as an issue of economic and financial stability,” he said, adding that for the 2019 elections, a political alliance can be formed to overcome the issue.

“It is something that our relevant institutions should work on and make the necessary evaluations. It can be assessed later the steps that can be taken,” he added.

Discussion on Atatürk

Erdoğan also answered questions concerning his speech on Nov. 10, the 79th anniversary of the passing of Turkey’s founder Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, in which he praised Atatürk as the founder of republic and the leader of the independence war.

“I stressed in my speech that there should not be taboos in Turkey. To love Atatürk is something, while practicing Atatürkism is something else. This is what we are trying to explain,” he said.

He slammed opposition parties for criticizing him for not using the name Atatürk, but instead referring to him as just Mustafa Kemal, calling on the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) to “read Gazi Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.”

“They say that I do not use the name Atatürk. There is no such thing. There are places where I use, there are some that I don’t,” he said.

“Think about it, [Atatürk] has fallen into the hands of Marxists, the PKK [outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party] or the Peoples’ Democratic Party [HDP], and so on. Who is walking with them? So-called Atatürkist [CHP leader Kemal] Kılıçdaroğlu is. He is walking with them,” he said.

“We will not let it fall this much,” he said.