AKP, MHP agreed to lower election threshold to 7 pct, says far-right leader Bahçeli

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's far-right ultranationalist ally Devlet Bahçeli has announced that the governing coalition came to an agreement to lower the election threshold from its current level of 10 percent to seven percent. The BBP however -- another smaller nationalist party in the People's Alliance -- protested Bahçeli's remarks by saying that his party favors the abolishment of the threshold all together.

President Erdoğan (R) and MHP chair Bahçeli are seen pictured together in this file photo.

Duvar English

Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli has announced that the governing coalition agreed to lower the election threshold to seven percent.

“The search and works with regards to the election threshold have been finalized with this statement, and the decision of the People's Alliance with regards to the election threshold has been officially registered as seven percent. There is no other evaluation left,” Bahçeli said in a written statement on Sept. 1.

Bahçeli's statements came after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan already last week signaled lowering the 10 percent election threshold to seven percent, in a bid to ensure that the MHP enters parliament.

Speaking to reporters on Aug. 29, Erdoğan said that the People's Alliance -- consisting of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), the MHP and another smaller nationalist party, the Grand Unity Party (BBP) -- is still evaluating the options. 

"About the election threshold, the seven percent option comes fore, but the final decision hasn't been adopted yet," Erdoğan said. 

BBP chair Mustafa Destici protested Bahçeli's statements on Sept. 1 by saying that his party favors the abolishment of the threshold all together. 

In a press meeting, Destici said that his party had already held two meetings with executives of the AKP with regards to the issue. 

"As the BBP, we are saying it very clearly that we do not find the implementation of election threshold right, and we want it to be abolished," Destici said. 

The works on changing the election law began after numerous polls showed that the People's Alliance is rapidly losing votes. Decreasing the threshold serves the interests of the MHP, since the party's votes are below the current threshold. 

The opposition agrees that the election threshold must be decreased, but is skeptical of the changes in the election law since it's widely perceived as Erdoğan's move to cling to power. The parties have also been calling for snap polls, citing the country's current economic downfall. 

AKP sources previously told Duvar that the lowering of the threshold also aims to prevent additional support given to minor parties, referring to the votes cast for the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) in the past in order for it to pass the threshold. 

According to the AKP, the HDP receives votes from other parties' bases in order for it to enter parliament in the face of the 10 percent threshold for fair representation and a weaker AKP. The government claims that the HDP's votes would be lower if it doesn't receive support from other parties' voters.