The Turkish Constitutional Court ruled against lowering the 10 percent election threshold for political parties to enter Parliament on Tuesday. It was reported that the court rejected the individual appeals to lower the election threshold for "lack of venue regarding the matter."
A total of 16 members participated in the voting, where 14 members voted against a decrease in the threshold while two members voted in favor of decreasing Turkey's 10 percent election threshold.
The party that will be most affected by the decision is the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) whose support hovers around the threshold.
Haşim Kılıç, the president of the constitutional court, did not attend the meeting, according to records.
Turkey's election threshold has been a topic of debate for some time, with minor parties and parties whose votes hover around the threshold consistently calling for the lowering of the threshold.
Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu also commented on the election threshold debate and said that his ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) has no concern over the threshold. "It isn't the AK Party that brought on the election threshold regulation. Our party has come to this point through the votes of our citizens. However, it was those who were afraid of the threshold that declined President [Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan's call as prime minister at the time, to remove the election threshold," Davutoğlu said in a speech at the AK Party's regular parliamentary group meeting in December.
Similar debates on the election threshold have taken place in previous years and even international judicial decisions have been made on the matter. In response to the application to lower the threshold, the Constitutional Court determined in 1995 that the 10 percent election threshold did not violate the principle of equitable representation.
Furthermore, the European Court of Human Rights had earlier decided in 2007 and 2008 that Turkey's election threshold does not violate the right for free elections and is not a violation of human rights.
The Strasbourg-based court ruled in favor of Turkey in a 5-2 vote saying that the threshold aimed at ensuring stability in the country's political life. Besided lowering the current 10 percent election threshold offered by the AK Party in 2013 as part of the reforms that were announced as a democratization package on Sept. 30, 2013.
The AK Party proposed three alternatives in the democratization package: maintaining the 10 percent threshold, reducing it to 5 percent, or removing the threshold altogether and fully implementing the single-member district system.
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