Why Turkey's Government Wants to Lower the Election Threshold

Jul 16, 2021 | 18:47 GMT

Lawmakers discuss a new law in Turkey’s parliament in Ankara on Feb. 5, 2014.

Turkish legislators hold a parliamentary session in Ankara on Feb. 5, 2014.

(ADEM ALTAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Turkey’s governing alliance is hoping that lowering the country’s notoriously high election threshold will split the opposition and defuse international criticism of its democratic record. Allowing more parties to enter the parliament, however, could backfire by complicating the policymaking process and empowering extremists. On July 16, Turkey’s governing Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and the Justice and Development Party (AKP) agreed in principle to legislate an electoral reform that would lower the threshold required to enter parliament from 10% of the national vote to 5% -- thus making it easier for smaller parties to secure seats in future national elections. The MHP and AKP are also discussing reforming Turkey’s constituency system and the electoral threshold for alliances -- both of which could favor smaller parties as well. ...

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