MHP expecting proposal on lower election threshold, party leader Bahçeli says
Umut Erdem – ANKARA
The Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) is “awaiting a proposal” for lowering the 10 percent general election threshold, MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli has said.
“The election threshold has been discussed for a long time. It could not be lowered to a reasonable level. There are texts the [political] parties have discussed before and settled on. They can put those texts on the table and the discussion can continue. We are awaiting a proposal on the issue. We are working on it, but there is no point in discussing it before everyone else,” Bahçeli said on Oct. 5.
The MHP leader made the comments to reporters while traveling back from the Aegean province of Manisa, where he attended a number of ceremonies.
On June 7, 2015, Turkey held its parliamentary elections to elect 550 members to parliament.
The MHP gained 3.2 percent on its 2011 share, adding 28 seats with 16.3 percent of the votes. The Kurdish issue-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), meanwhile, received a total of 13.1 percent of the national vote, pushing it well above the minimum 10 percent threshold to achieve representation in parliament.
This resulted in 80 seats each for the MHP and the HDP and marked the first time a Kurdish issue-focused party gained formal representation in Turkey’s parliament. Candidates of the HDP’s predecessors had run as independents in previous elections in order to avoid the 10-percent election threshold.
In the snap elections on Nov. 1, 2015, called after a coalition government was unable to be formed, both the MHP and HDP lost a significant amount of votes, receiving 11.9 percent and 10.8 percent of the vote respectively.
Until recently, the MHP supported the preservation of the 10 percent electoral threshold, mainly to inhibit any Kurdish-focused party from entering parliament.
However, the change in policy came after many dissident former lawmakers left the MHP to join Meral Akşener’s long-awaited new political party, set to be officially founded in October and expected to lure away some MHP voters.