The ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) has prepared an alternative draft of the election law. It will be finalized after consultation with the commission and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and presented as a bill in the Turkish Parliament.
The new law is designed to make critical changes to Turkey's election threshold, the lawmakers' ability to change parties, requirements to participate in elections and an overhaul of the overall election system, among several other things.
The draft proposes canceling the threshold altogether or setting it at 5% or 7%, according to the Turkish daily, Sabah.
The current 10% threshold and 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 aim of the threshold was to prevent political instability as the former system of proportional representation introduced with the 1961 Constitution led to fragile coalition governments in the 1970s, with small or wing parties gaining Cabinet powers far beyond their votes due to grisly coalition bargaining.
Meanwhile, in terms of the electoral system, the new law offers three options: not changing the existing D'Hondt method, which involves proportional representation, and two variations of a single-member system. One of the single-member systems divides provinces with more than 18 lawmakers into separate districts composed of 10 lawmakers each, increasing the number of electoral districts in large cities like the capital Ankara and Istanbul.
The new law features conditions preventing newly established parties from running in elections if lawmakers have transferred into them from other parties.
The new law may also suggest that the Supreme Election Board (YSK), rather than the Supreme Court of Appeals, should oversee records of political parties' membership and congresses.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the draft also plans to address the issue of holding online party congresses.
The commission discussed having separate polls to elect local neighborhood representatives known as "muhtars," but it was dismissed as an unviable option as it would require frequent elections, the report said. Turkey elects muhtars during local elections but the local administrators do not run on a party-based campaign.
Last June, Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gül said revisiting and preparing a new election law would be useful and necessary.
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