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Turkish parliamentary commission approves changes to election law – Ahval

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« A Turkish parliamentary commission approved on Thursday moves to lower the electoral threshold for political parties seeking to enter the Grand National Assembly » says Ahval News.

Parties must now only receive 7 percent of the national vote to take up seats in parliament, down from 10 percent under previous rules.  

The legislative changes were put forward by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its far-right ally the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) last week.

Both parties face declining electoral support amid economic instability including surging inflation and a volatile lira. The domestic currency lost 44 percent of its value against the dollar in 2021 and has declined a further 10 percent this year.

Opinion polls show support for the MHP has dropped to single figures ahead of potentially crucial elections scheduled for June next year, when Erdoğan is likely to again need the backing of the far-right party to help secure re-election as president and a working majority in parliament.   

Turkey’s electoral threshold, introduced after a 1980 military coup, is the highest in Europe. The European Union has long called on the country to lower it.

The changes to the election law, consisting of 15 articles, are also designed to prevent deputies from switching between political parties, a tactic previously used by the opposition to overcome the electoral threshold.  

Having been approved, the amendments require 12 months to come into force, dampening speculation Erdoğan will seek a snap election before 2023.

Ahval News, March 24, 2022

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