Erdoğan’s ruling AKP proposes changes to election law to split opposition

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A proposal to amend Turkey’s Election Law and Law on the Political Parties by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) includes a reduced election threshold from the unusually high 10 percent to 7 percent, BBC Turkish reported on Thursday.

Previous proposals suggested an even lower 5 percent threshold, however, AKP’s junior coalition partner far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) has agreed to the current 7 percent, according to the BBC.

During discussions on what changes to propose, the ruling party considered getting rid of the threshold altogether, BBC said, so smaller parties would enter elections without necessarily looking to join alliances. Another option was to lower the threshold for individual parties to 7 percent while introducing a new threshold of 12 percent for alliances, according to Diken news website.

Such conditions would weaken the opposition’s Nation Alliance against the ruling People’s Alliance, but the ideas were ultimately scrapped, BBC said.

Public support for Erdoğan’s People’s Alliance has dropped from above 50 percent to around 46 percent, Diken said, citing an average of polls conducted by 16 polling companies over the last three months.

The 10 percent election threshold and the highest averages method for elections, known as the D’Hondt method, were introduced in the 1982 constitution, which was drafted by the military government that took over after a coup in 1980.

The new election system, called a “narrowed-region system”, will introduce regions adjusted to have seven deputies each and will result in favour of larger parties. Simulations have shown that the AKP stands to gain as many as 12 more seats in parliament, according to the BBC.

The proposal also seeks tougher conditions for political parties to benefit from Treasury grants, BBC Turkish said. This concerns the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), which is harshly slammed by the governing AKP-MHP alliance. The MHP has several times demanded the closure of the HDP because of its alleged links with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), deemed as terrorist by the US, the EU and Turkey.

Ahval

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