AK Party says 10 pct election threshold likely to remain

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published

Justice and Development Party (AK Party) spokesman Mahir Ünal said on Monday that the general tendency in the alliance committee of AK Party and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) representatives, as the two party merged for the upcoming presidential elections in 2019, is to leave the 10 percent election threshold as is.

The AK Party and MHP decided to form an alliance for the 2019 elections. However, since the body of current law does not allow political parties to make alliances, in order to establish a proper legal base for the alliance, the two parties established a committee at the beginning of January to work on the issue. Ünal, Justice Minister Abdülhamit Gül and Mustafa Şentop are the AK Party representatives for the alliance committee and the MHP named Deputies Mehmet Parsak, Mustafa Kalaycı and Faruk Aksu.

The committee also recently decided to handle the adjustment laws regarding the re-evaluation of the election threshold.

In Turkey, the 10 percent electoral threshold has been in force since the 1983 general elections. Last November, MHP Chairman Devlet Bahçeli called the threshold too high and said that it should be lowered.

"The general tendency is to protect the 10 percent threshold. Other issues, however, are still being evaluated," Ünal said following the AK Party's latest Central Executive Committee and Central Decision Board (MKYK) meeting on Monday. He further said that the parties that make an election alliance will not have a threshold problem and that the main point is the votes that the alliance gets.

According to party sources, the AK Party is in favor of keeping the current 10 percent threshold and suggested that the provinces in which six or seven deputies are elected should be divided into more than one polling district. The MHP is reportedly in favor of decreasing the threshold to 7 percent.

Bahçeli announced earlier this month that his party would not nominate a candidate for the 2019 elections and instead would support the re-election of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Bahçeli said that the underlying reason for this decision is that his party will act in accordance with the Yenikapı spirit. He was referring to a rally that took place in Istanbul on Aug. 7, 2017, in which all of Turkey's main political leaders participated. That event was considered a symbol of political consensus following the failed July 15, 2016 coup attempt.

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