Election safety to be prioritized in new adjustment laws


A joint committee formed by the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) will draft the first adjustment laws package on the most urgent issues concerning the local elections that are set for March 2019, including safety and administration at polling centers.

According to reports in the media, the alliance committee will finalize the first adjustment laws package that will include some steps in regard to the security of election centers. A change will be made to ensure that citizens can easily inform authorities about possible unrest in the polling centers. Previously, only assigned officials in the polling centers were able to inform the authorities in the case of any disturbances.Moreover, the head of the balloting committee will have to be a state servant or a retired state servant in line with the new amendment. The two parties must get these laws passed next month at the latest in order for them to be applicable to the March 2019 local elections.

Meanwhile, it is also being reported that the national election threshold, which is currently at 10 percent of the vote, will not be lowered in the general elections. However, the threshold may be set at 15 percent for alliances.

MHP Chairman Devlet Bahçeli previously called on the government to lower the election threshold to 5 or 7 percent, stressing that European democracies should be taken as an example in this regard.

The AK Party and MHP agreed to join forces for the 2019 elections. That being said, since current laws do not allow political parties to form 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. The AK Party assigned Mahir Ünal, Justice Minister Abdülhamit Gül and Mustafa Şentop to represent them in the alliance committee, while the MHP named deputies Mehmet Parsak, Mustafa Kalaycı and Faruk Aksu.The committee's first meeting was held two weeks ago and it was reported that in the second meeting, which lasted over two hours, the two sides agreed to a large extent on the alliance model formulated by MHP Chairman Devlet Bahçeli.

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.

The MHP chair pointed to the cooperation between his party and the AK Party in the wake of the coup attempt. He said that his party would act in accordance with the Yenikapı spirit, 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 July 15, 2016, failed coup.

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