The legislative proposal, which paves the way for a pre-election alliance, has been submitted to the parliament by joint commission members of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).
Last month, MHP chairman Devlet Bahçeli said that his party, would support incumbent Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who founded the AKP, during the 2019 presidential election.
“The AKP and the MHP introduced in the parliament a [draft] regulation on creating pre-election alliances. The changes will be relevant both for general and local elections. The barrier for entering the parliament will remain at the 10-percent level. But in case of the creation of an alliance, the result will be calculated for the whole coalition, not for each party. So a party will be able to enter the parliament even if it gets less than 10 percent of votes,” Mustafa Şentop, deputy chairman of the AKP, said.
The measures need to be approved by parliament, where the AKP and MHP together have more than the required seats to pass laws.
The package includes provisions that will allow political parties to enter into elections as an alliance while keeping their political party emblem in the ballot box papers. This is not possible under the current laws, according to which if parties want to form a coalition, it would only be possible if one party enters an election under another party’s political roof.
The regulation keeps the 10 percent electoral threshold but it will apply to the sum of the votes of the alliance, not in particular for the parties within the alliance. The number of the lawmakers will also be determined according to the sum of the votes of the alliance.
ARMED PERSONNEL AND MUNICIPAL OFFICERS TO ENTER BALLOT ROOMS
The agreement between AKP and the MHP also includes measures designed to ensure "electoral security" according to which the ballot boxes could be relocated over security reasons and constituencies can also be unified or mixed.
The move has been proposed by the AKP in previous elections, especially for eastern and southeastern provinces, but it has not been accepted by Turkey’s Supreme Election Board (YSK).
The regulation also changes the definition of "the area of a ballot box," which paves a way for private security officers, armed personnel and municipal officers to enter ballot box rooms. It also allows citizens to file a complaint about ballot box officers or voting procedures, which also allows police forces to be present in the ballot rooms.
With the regulation, the unsealed ballot papers will also be regarded valid. The YSK’s decision to regard the unsealed papers valid has been harshly criticized by the voters for causing voting irregularities in the previous election.
The parties also proposed to reduce the minimum age for local lawmakers from 25 to 18 years.
During the previous elections in 2015 the AKP got 49.5 percent of votes while the MHP – 11.9 percent.