Turkish government mulls reducing poll threshold: Deputy PM

Turkish government mulls reducing poll threshold: Deputy PM

Turkish government mulls reducing poll threshold: Deputy PM

‘Our fundamental principle is this: all ideas, expressions, faith that do not contain violence should be free... There is just one international criterion: Violence,’ Atalay says. DHA photo

With less than a week left until the unveiling of the long-expected democratization package, a senior government official did not rule out a reduction in the 10 percent election threshold, one of the demands outlined by the Kurdish politicians in the course of the resolution process.

“We are still working on it,” Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay told the private broadcaster NTV, in an interview late on Sept. 23. Atalay did not detail the government’s plan as to what percentage the threshold could be dropped to.

Turkey has the highest election threshold on the European continent and all opposition parties have pressed the government to reduce the threshold to a reasonable level. Some reports unconfirmed by the government officials suggest the threshold would be reduced to either seven or five percent.

The Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) central decision-making body convened yesterday to make final assessments and to work on the wording of the package before it is made public by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Sept. 30.

Atalay said the package contained some surprises and was the continuation of the AKP’s “silent revolution” carried out since 2002. “It will be the largest reform package,” he stressed.

Upon a question, Atalay hinted that the package would also introduce changes that would have a positive effect on the situation of arrested journalists.