Erdoğan signals lowering election threshold to seven percent

President Erdoğan has signaled lowering the 10 percent election threshold to seven percent. The move is widely interpreted as an attempt to make sure that the MHP crosses the threshold.

Duvar English 

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has signaled lowering the 10 percent election threshold to seven percent, in a bid to ensure that the ally of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) enters parliament.

Speaking to reporters on Aug. 29, Erdoğan said that the People's Alliance consisting of the AKP and the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) 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. 

"The MHP also favors seven percent. We don't know whether something below it will be on the table," he noted. 

Various reports have been claiming that the AKP and the MHP seek to lower the election threshold in order to save the latter. A commission was formed by the AKP to work on the issue last year. 

The commission had previously laid out two options for the threshold, with one being five percent and the other seven percent. Erdoğan was reportedly inclined to choose seven percent.

The works on changing the election law began after numerous polls showed that the People's Alliance is rapidly losing votes. Decreasing the threshold would serve the MHP, since its 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. 

"The threshold must be lowered to at least seven percent. The fact that the threshold is high makes it seem like some parties are bigger than they actually are. The voters who plan to vote for minor parties become hopeless, hence they vote for larger parties," AKP sources said, in an apparent reference to the HDP and the support it gets from other parties.