Turkey reduces election threshold to 7 percent

Turkey reduces election threshold to 7 percent

Turkey reduces election threshold to 7 percent

The Turkish parliament on March 31 approved amendments to the election law, lowering the election threshold for political parties from 10 to 7 percent.

The new electoral law can only be applied in the next election one year later as per the constitution.

The military rule in the aftermath of the 1980 coup d’état had introduced the 10 percent election barrier, which is the highest in the European continent, in a bid to maintain political stability.

The change in the law obliges the political parties to pass this threshold to win seats in the parliament, although the alliance they are part of garners more than 7 percent of votes. If the total number of votes received by the alliance exceeds the country threshold, the distribution of deputies will be calculated by taking into account the number of votes received by the parties in the alliance in that electoral district.

If the party that has qualified to participate in the elections has not held its district, provincial and grand congresses successively twice within the time limits specified in the law, it will lose this right.

The law no longer allows a political party with a group of at least 20 lawmakers in the parliament to run in the elections. This aims to prevent the political parties from transferring lawmakers just to be eligible to run in the elections. In June 2018 elections, the CHP transferred 15 lawmakers to the İYİ Party, which had only five deputies in the parliament, so that the latter could race in the polls.

The chairs and members of the provincial election boards, which will consist of a chairman, two permanent members and two substitute members, will be determined by drawing lots from among the judges allocated to the first class.

Earlier this month, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its main political ally Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) introduced the draft law to amend the election law.