Alternatives for new electoral system to be discussed within AK Party

DAILY SABAH
ANKARA
Published 16.06.2017 00:46

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) will discuss the new electoral system, including the issue of decreasing the election threshold for entering Parliament, as President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said that the party plans to discuss all proposals that will strengthen democracy in Turkey.

Addressing deputies in Parliament at an iftar (fast-breaking) dinner on Wednesday, President Erdoğan said that Turkey made the most important reform with the April 16 referendum. Stressing that Parliament needs to make essential changes to the electoral system and implement adjustment laws, President Erdoğan said, "[Parliamentarians] need to discuss all proposals that will strengthen democracy; primarily including such alternatives as a single-member district."

According to AK Party sources, Erdoğan and party leaders are in favor of decreasing the national election threshold to either 5 or 7 percent from the current 10 percent.

Since the constitutional changes have been approved in the April 16 referendum, adjustment laws and changes to the electoral system must be made. One of the alternatives discussed within the AK Party is that Turkey be divided into 600 polling districts. Each district will vote for a deputy in the type of system that is already being applied in the U.K. Even though the AK Party is in favor of the system, public opinion is generally against it.

The party reportedly fears that such a system could pave the way for PKK terrorists to intimidate voters in southeastern and eastern districts.

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 will be divided into 20 voting precincts. President Erdoğan has long been in favor of such a system.

The "yes" camp prevailed in the April 16 referendum with 51.41 percent while the "no" camp received 48.59 percent of the vote. Voter turnout stood at 87.45 percent, according to the board.

The first elections in the new system will be held in 2019. After the 2019 elections, the post of prime minister will be abolished. With the referendum, the Turkish people approved amendments to 18 articles of the country's existing Constitution, including the transition from a parliamentary system of governance to a presidential system.

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