Turkey, vote in elections

Turkey lowers election threshold for parties to 7%

The new electoral law changes the requirements for political parties to stand for elections in Turkey.

The deputies of the Turkish parliament approved on Wednesday the proposal to reduce the election threshold that limits the representation of political parties in the National Assembly of Turkey: while it previously required 10% of the national votes to obtain representation (one of the highest thresholds in the world), now is reduced to 7%.

The election threshold, which until now limited the possibility for a political party in Turkey to obtain deputies in parliament to gain at least 10% of the votes at the national level, has been the subject of discussions and debates for years; introduced in the 1982 Constitution drawn up after the 1980 coup d’état to favour the stability of the parliamentary system, in recent years Erdoğan’s AKP party had announced on several occasions its intention to reduce it, although saying that in any case that reduction would not reach the 3% that exists in European countries such as Spain.

The reform approved yesterday introduces other changes, such as regarding the requirements for parties to be able to attend elections, in addition to providing measures so that blind people can exercise their right to vote. It is also established that the new election threshold of 7% will also apply to electoral alliances, and that seats in parliament will be distributed based on the votes received by each party in a given electoral district, acording to the well-known D’Hondt system.

The new electoral legislation introduces other innovations. For example, it will no longer be enough to form an own parliamentary group to be able to participate in the elections. Political parties are also required to have representation in a minimum of 41 provinces at least 6 months before the elections are held, in order to attend them. Several opposition parties in Turkey have criticised this new law, as many of the requirements it places on parties and electoral alliances, contradict the 2018 electoral law.

The new election threshold of 7% will apply in the next presidential and parliamentary elections to be held in Turkey, scheduled for June 2023. Up to 6 opposition parties have announced their intention to form an alliance to reintroduce the parliamentary system and end the presidential system, promoted by Erdoğan and approved by a tight “yes” in the 2017 constitutional referendum.