Turkish government considering election law regulation
Nuray BABACAN - ANKARAThe ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is considering making changes to the election law, after Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım hinted at a possible lowering of the 10 percent election threshold if the constitutional amendment is approved in the referendum on April 16.
The AKP is planning to make series of changes to the election law and the political parties’ law in line with the demands and recommendations of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), which is in alliance with the ruling party in support of the constitutional amendment.
Noting that the ostensible reason why the 10 percent election threshold on parliamentary representation was inserted in the 1982 Constitution was the fear of “potential instability,” Yıldırım said on March 27 that the threshold will not be needed since the new system will “provide stability.”
His comments were based on work of the Justice Ministry and two different commissions established within the ruling party. With the work, the AKP could unite four different election acts that are currently under one law, and the most important subject of this initiative will be the lowering of the election threshold.
Currently, the body of current law consists of four different regulations related to electoral provisions, the parliamentary election law, the local election law and the presidency election law. The AKP may unite all the laws in one text, dividing the basic provisions of the three laws under three main articles.
The AKP and the MHP agree on lowering the 10 percent election threshold to 7 percent. The MHP, which is facing internal division as dissidents break with party leader Devlet Bahçeli over the alliance with the government, is said to be in favor of lowering the threshold.
Meanwhile, the AKP is said to be moving away from its idea of single-member districts for the parliamentary elections, which it had previously defended, as the MHP is not in favor of such a change.
As part of works, election results were simulated in accordance with the rise in the lawmaker numbers foreseen by the constitutional amendment, up from 550 MPs to 600 MPs. The simulation was based on the votes the parties received in the most recent Nov. 1, 2015 parliamentary election, in order to reveal which party will benefit from the changes in future elections. The simulation reportedly indicated that the MHP would benefit most from the changes.