Turkey’s ruling party mulls 7 percent election threshold

Turkey’s ruling party mulls 7 percent election threshold

Turkey’s ruling party mulls 7 percent election threshold

A drafted amendment on the Election Law and Law on the Political Parties by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is suggesting reducing the current 10 percent national election threshold to 7 percent, while increasing the number of constituencies across Turkey.

Works by the senior AKP officials to undertake substantial changes on two key laws are coming to end, according to sources who informed that they will soon to be shared with the AKP’s main political ally, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP). The amendments will be submitted to parliament after necessary changes are carried out by the AKP and the MHP officials.

One of the most important aspects of these changes is the national election threshold. Turkey has had a 10 percent electoral threshold for all parties wanting to take seats in parliament since the early 1980s. Although all the parties have been on the same page in regards to a lowered threshold, no concrete action was taken to this end in the past.

The AKP’s draft suggests reducing it to 7 percent with comments that the MHP has also agreed on it. The draft does not introduce a threshold for the individual parties running for the elections as part of an alliance.

The draft also seeks increasing the number of constituencies by pledging five to seven lawmakers to each constituency. Currently, cities in Turkey have only one constituency each, except for Istanbul, which has three, and Ankara, İzmir and Bursa, with two constituencies.

Amendments on the Law of Political Parties are expected to address the AKP and MHP’s complaints about the transfer of the lawmakers between the opposition parties in a bid to ease the conditions of smaller and newly founded parties to run in the elections. Currently, a political party with at least 20 lawmakers in parliament can run in the elections, although it does not meet other criteria.

For example, İYİ (Good) Party, which had only five lawmakers in parliament in 2018, could enter the June 2018 elections after the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) transferred 15 of its lawmakers.

Another major change sought in the law is that it limits newer parties that enter parliament to take part in the parliament’s management. They will not automatically be given position at the management level of parliament and the parliamentary commissions. These positions will be distributed in accordance with the votes the parties will get in the elections.

The drafted law could also bring about tougher conditions for the political parties to benefit from Treasury grants. This provision mostly concerns the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), which is harshly slammed by both the AKP and the MHP. The MHP has several times demanded the closure of the HDP because of its alleged links with the PKK, listed as terrorist by the US, the EU and Turkey.