Laws for executive presidency should be enacted by March at latest, AK Party says

DAILY SABAH
ANKARA
Published

The Justice and Development Party (AK Party) is preparing to present a draft for adjustment laws before March 2018, and a team from the party is working around the clock toward realizing the goal, AK Party Deputy Chairman Hayati Yazıcı said.

Speaking to a group of journalists, Yazıcı, who is also a member of the AK Party adjustment laws working group, said that the laws must be made before March 2018. "They must be made before March. … We will submit it to our chairman after the completion of the work. It will come before the party's authorized bodies at the Central Executive Board [MYK]. Then it will turn into a draft," Yazıcı said.

Yazıcı also hinted at the possibility of carrying out talks with the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) afterward.

MHP Chairman Devlet Bahçeli previously said the MHP can contribute to the process of making the adjustment laws for the new executive presidential system that was approved in the April 16 constitutional referendum. "If the ruling party sends a resolution to us, we would contribute to the adoption of adjustment laws at the earliest by analyzing and working on the result," he said in early October.

After many constitutional changes were approved in the April 16 referendum, adjustment laws and changes to the electoral system must be made. There have already been several reports regarding possible electoral systems discussed within the AK Party. One of the alternatives is that Turkey be divided into 600 polling districts. Each district would vote for a deputy in the type of system that exists in the U.K. Even though the AK Party is in favor of this system, public opinion is generally against it.

Another alternative is for the division of each province into voting districts. Each district will vote for five or six deputies. In this system, for example, Istanbul would be divided into 20 voting precincts. President Erdoğan has long been in favor of such a system.

The national election threshold is also up for discussion amid the making of adjustment laws. Bahçeli recently came out against the threshold, saying that it should be lower, as in Western democracies. "Whether it would be 5 percent as is the case in Western democracies, or 7 percent, or remains as it is at 10 percent, we must consider this," Bahçeli said.

However, Yazıcı said that there is currently no need to change the election threshold. "I do not think that the 10 percent threshold creates too much trouble for representation. Who is currently not represented in Parliament irrespective of parties, by means of social category? Can it be said that this section [of the society] is not represented in Parliament. All are there," he said.

The 10 percent threshold, along with the highest averages method, known as the D'Hondt method, were introduced with the 1982 Constitution, which was adopted in a referendum after the 1980 military coup. The main aim of the threshold is to prevent political instability as the previous system of proportional representation introduced with the 1961 Constitution led to fragile coalition governments in the 1970s, and small or fringe parties, including the MHP, gained cabinet powers far beyond their votes due to gruesome coalition bargaining.Responding to a question regarding a possible alliance with the MHP in the 2019 elections, Yazıcı said that the country is familiar with alliances in the past. "Turkey is not unfamiliar with alliances. We do not have any work regarding an election alliance, but it does not mean that there will not be one," he said.

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