The People’s Alliance led by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) announced its draft proposal for election law reforms on Monday.
The draft, titled the “Political Parties and Election Law,” proposes to reduce the election threshold from 10% to 7%.
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. Despite the fact that the AK Party has promised to adjust the threshold several times over the last decade, no steps have been taken so far on the issue.
Consisting of 15 articles, the draft was submitted to the Turkish Parliament with the joint signature of the AK Party and the MHP on Monday.
The draft proposes the elimination of the condition for political parties to establish parliamentary groups to be able to run in elections and will require parties to complete organizing in 41 provinces six months ahead of the elections.
The proposal will also restrict changing addresses prior to the elections to vote for relatives in local elections to prevent “electoral migrations.” The electorate’s address in the past year will be considered as their residence.
Meanwhile, a draw is expected to be held among the three most senior elections officials to choose the head of the election board.
Speaking at a joint news conference with his MHP counterpart Feti Yıldız, AK Party Deputy Chairperson Hayati Yazıcı told reporters that the 11th article of the draft proposes cohesiveness with the presidential system. For instance, it modifies the 65th article of Law no. 298 from “Prohibitions regarding the Prime Minister and Ministers” into “Ministers” since Turkey no longer has a prime minister.
Meanwhile, noting that elections are the source of legitimacy for the prerogative to govern countries ruled by democracy, Yıldız said Turkey has enjoyed free and fair elections under the framework of deep-rooted applications and laws overseen by the judiciary.
The AK Party and the MHP have been seeking to modify the election law to make it more compatible with the presidential system.
Turkish voters narrowly endorsed an executive presidency in the April 16, 2017, referendum with 51.4% of the votes in favor. The official transition to the new system took place when President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan took the presidential oath of office in Parliament after the June 24, 2018, general elections, during which he won 52.6% of the votes.
Turkey is expected to hold presidential elections in June 2023, and Turkish officials have rejected the opposition's requests to have snap polls.