The Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) has pledged its full support to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) for the 2019 elections, during which it seeks to shift the current parliamentary system into an executive presidency, while insisting on lowering the 10-percent threshold to get into parliament.
“Our party, together with the AKP, will struggle for the full establishment of the presidential system in 2019 in line with the conscience of Aug. 7  and April 16,” MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli told his parliamentary group on Nov. 14.
On Aug. 7, 2016, Turkey’s three political parties gathered at a rally held under the leadership of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to jointly condemn the July 15, 2016 coup attempt, in a show of unity and solidarity against the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), believed to be behind the attempted takeover.
On April 16, a constitutional referendum was held throughout Turkey on whether the country should keep the current parliamentary system or become an executive presidency.
The AKP and the MHP voted in favor of the changes, while a “no” bloc consisting of the main opposition Republican Party (CHP), the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and a group of dissidents within the MHP stood against it.
Recalling that CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu had described the 2019 elections as a vote between democrats and those supporting a one-man system, Bahçeli vowed his party would not stay silent in the face of a bloc between the CHP and the HDP.
“If the CHP and the HDP form a new bloc and attempt to seek revenge of the April 16 referendum, then the MHP will not remain silent and idle. We will struggle for the establishment of a new system with the AKP,” he said.
MHP insists on lowering election threshold
Bahçeli repeated his party’s view over an ongoing debate on the current 10-percent electoral threshold in Turkey.
Denying claims that the MHP was worried about staying below the electoral threshold, as recent polls have shown, Bahçeli insisted the MHP had no “barrier problem.”
“It’s not because we are concerned about the threshold. But we have shared our opinions over the fact that the governance system has changed, and it obliges us to revise the election system. An executive presidency system will introduce stability in governance,” he stressed.
It is only Turkey and the Seychelles that have a 10-percent electoral threshold and it needs to be re-evaluated, Bahçeli argued, urging the AKP to address the issue through legislation.
‘CHP has no right to mention Atatürk’
Continuing to target the CHP, Bahçeli said the party should not claim its loyalty to Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey.
“Atatürk should not be under the monopoly of anybody. Above all, the CHP, who stands alongside the HDP, PKK [outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party] and FETÖ, has no right to mention Atatürk’s name,” he stated.
His comments come amid a debate over a sudden enthusiasm senior AKP officials have shown when commemorating Atatürk on the 79th anniversary of his death on Nov. 10.