Presidential legal counselors, AK Party members work on new electoral system

Published 30.06.2017 00:08

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has recently urged authorities within the presidency and the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) to evaluate electoral systems in certain countries to prepare a new system in line with the constitutional changes approved in the April 16 referendum.

According to reports in the Turkish media, Erdoğan told members of the AK Party and presidential authorities to analyze the electoral systems in France and Spain to prepare a "Turkish model" electoral system.

A team of legal counselors in the Justice Ministry, AK Party and presidency have been working toward an electoral system suitable for the country. It has been reported that President Erdoğan instructed the AK Party to dwell on the subject at the Central Executive Board (MYK) meeting after he was re-elected as the AK Party chairman in late May.

There is a two-round electoral system in France. There is not an election threshold and there are 550 deputies. Each deputy represents an electoral district and each deputy is elected with a substitute. A candidate must garner at least 50 plus one percent of the vote to be elected in the first round. To be a candidate in the second round, one must have 12.5 percent of the vote. Whoever gets more votes becomes the president in the second round.

There may be at least 300 deputies, 400 at most in Spain according to the constitution. Each province is determined as an electoral district. How many deputies a province will have is determined in line with the population after each electoral district is given a certain number of deputies for the start.

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 might be divided into polling districts. In this system, each district will vote for a deputy in the type of system that is already being applied in the U.K.

Erdoğan commented on the issue in mid-June. Stressing that Parliament needs to make essential changes to the electoral system and implement adjustment laws, Erdoğan said, "[Parliamentarians] need to discuss all proposals that will strengthen democracy, primarily including such alternatives as a single-member district."

As for the election threshold, AK Party sources said that Erdoğan and party members are in favor of decreasing the national election threshold to either 5 percent or 7 percent from the current 10 percent.

The April 16 referendum passed with 51.41 percent of the vote to 48.59 percent again. 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, voters 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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