Election alliance bill expected to be discussed in Parliament next week

Election alliance bill expected to be discussed in Parliament next week

The 26-article election alliance bill was expected to be passed by the Parliamentary Constitutional Committee yesterday, as it will be up for vote next week in the general session.

Speaking to reporters yesterday after a joint meeting with CHP Deputy Group Chairman Özgür Özel, Justice and Development Party (AK Party) Group Deputy Chairman Mustafa Elitaş said that all articles of the alliance bill were set to be approved yesterday as he underlined that the bill would come to the parliamentary general session next week.

Responding to the CHP's request that the committee talks be postponed until next Monday, the AK Party group deputy chairman said that the remaining articles would be approved yesterday. Stressing that not even a single article of the bill will be changed, Elitaş said that the AK Party could not do something that the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), its partner in People's Alliance, would not agree to.

The CHP recently established a five-member committee to discuss election safety with all political parties as part of the new alliance bill. However, the MHP rejected the CHP's request, saying that the party does not have the time to waste in this regard. After meetings with other parties, the committee, formed by Bülent Tezcan, Muharrem Erkek, Lale Karabıyık, Özgür Özel and Mehmet Bekaroğlu, would prepare a report and submit its suggestions to Parliament. Elitaş said that the CHP must submit its work by 2 p.m. Monday at the latest. Otherwise, the bill will be discussed in the general session.

MHP Deputy Chairman Semih Yalçın said earlier this week that the alliance bill would be passed in Parliament as it is.

The AK Party and the MHP last month presented a 26-article bill to Parliament following weeks-long alliance negotiations for the presidential and parliamentary elections in 2019. The bill was signed by the AK Party Deputy Chairman and Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım as well as MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli. The bill will pave the way for electoral alliances for the first time in Turkish politics.

Brushing off criticism that the election threshold should be lowered, Elitaş said that parties should forge alliances to pass the threshold and enter Parliament.

As alliance talks dominate the agenda in Ankara, the prospect of calling snap elections is also a controversial topic. Elitaş also commented on the issue, emphasizing that the date for local elections is set for March 31, 2019, and that presidential and general elections will be held on Nov. 3, 2019.