Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) representatives met yesterday to discuss a possible electoral alliance for the 2019 presidential election.
Justice Minister Abdülhamit Gül, Parliament constitution committee head Mustafa Şentop, and AK Party spokesman Mahir Ünal represented their party, while the MHP was represented by Deputy Secretary-General Mustafa Kalaycı, lawmaker Mehmet Parsak from Afyonkarahisar province, and another parliamentarian from Istanbul province, İsmail Faruk Aksu. The meeting began at 3 p.m. and the press conference was held at 5 p.m.
Mustafa Şentop announced at the press conference in Ankara that the committee's second meeting would be on Jan. 23. He said the committee will discuss adjustment laws for forming party alliance, along with other topics, including the adjustment laws for amendments made to the Constitution and the new presidential system. The MHP's Kalaycı said a road map was also drawn for future meetings for what has been termed a "people's agreement," which he said was decided by the people in the April 16 constitutional referendum last year.
According to media reports, they will also discuss whether the parties in an alliance will have a common list of deputies or not. If the two parties agree on having a common list, the deputies' party affiliations will be clearly indicated on the ballots.
The two parties are reportedly having differences of opinion on the issue of how parliamentary seats will be distributed among candidates. According to sources close to the AK Party, the parties may come up with a mutual strategy or the Supreme Election Board (YSK) can apply the current D'Hondt system.
Under the new system, the votes of alliances will be counted together, and a party that stays below the 10 percent election threshold will not be left out of the Parliament. Therefore the AK Party administration is not planning to make a move to lower the threshold.
The sources also suggested that all deputy candidates that are elected with the total votes of the alliance will enter Parliament even if their parties fail to cross the threshold.
Commenting on the election threshold, Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gül said that it will also be evaluated.
"All parties say that they do not have a threshold problem in this regard but we will assess it in the meetings," he said.
MHP Chairman Devlet Bahçeli had previously called the possible alliance would be a "people's alliance" while President and AK Party Chairman Recep Tayyip Erdoğan termed it an "indigenous and national alliance."
AK Party officials are reportedly analyzing similar practices around the world and examining which countries have opted for such models, before coming up with a "Turkish model" that addresses the conditions in Turkey.Last year, a joint effort by the AK Party and MHP evolved into an alliance to amend the Turkish Constitution. The two parties jointly campaigned for the April 16 constitutional amendment package that switched the country's governmental system to an executive presidential system, which will take effect following the presidential election in November 2019.
Meanwhile, five committees working on the adjustment laws in line with the 2016 constitutional referendum are set to convene once a week.
Each commission will prepare drafts within a month's time and complete their work on about the same dates. The work will then be evaluated by the upper commission before being submitted to President Erdoğan.
Following the constitutional changes that were approved in the April 16 referendum, adjustment laws and changes to the electoral system have become a must.