Turkish government lowers parliamentary entry quota

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The Grand Assembly of Turkey, the unicameral Turkish parliament, approved a law on Thursday lowering the vote share required to enter parliament from 10% to 7% – a move that gives smaller parties greater access to parliament but decreases the likelihood of a snap election in the country.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) initially proposed the law, which also codified additional rules on how parliamentary seats can be distributed among electoral alliances. The new rules are due to come into force in 2023, meaning the country is unlikely to hold elections until then. Turkey is mandated to hold elections by June 2023, and the AKP and its parliamentary ally, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), have each indicated they support holding elections by that date.

The election delay matters as Erdogan’s poll numbers have fallen over the past year as his controversial economic policies, including his plea for permanently low interest rates, have led to record inflation. in Turkey and the devaluation of the pound on international trade. . Erdogan’s position in power has also been threatened by newfound unity within the opposition; Turkey’s six main opposition parties have announced an electoral alliance and endorsed a broad plan for united governance, suggesting they will stick together until elections are held.

Erdogan, whose government can decide the election date, is believed to be weighing which election date will improve his chances the most. If the election is postponed to June 2023, the president’s poll numbers could increase over the next year if Turkey experiences an economic recovery, but it could also decline further, meaning an early election could be a safer choice.

Western observers have suggested that the lowering of the voting threshold approved on Thursday is aimed at encouraging disunity within the opposition, as smaller factions within the alliance are now more likely to defect and enter parliament independently.

Together, the AKP-MHP alliance holds 333 of Turkey’s 600 parliamentary seats, a sufficient majority to pass most laws, and Erdogan beat his closest challenger in Turkey’s 2018 presidential election by around 20%. However, support for the AKP in Turkish opinion polls has fallen from over 40% in 2018 to around 30% today.

When held in 2023, Turkey’s elections will include both the presidential race, in which Erdogan is expected to face a united opposition candidate, and parliamentary races.

Trevor Filseth is a news and foreign affairs editor for the National interest.

Picture: Reuters.

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