Serkan Alan / DUVAR
Leading Turkish opposition figures have condemned the ruling alliance's draft election law, saying that the proposal is nothing more than an attempt to hold on to power by “any means necessary.”
The proposed package would lower the threshold to enter parliament to seven percent for any party and would remove the requirement to establish parliamentary groups to enter elections. Opposition figures and political analysts say that both of these moves would help the incumbent People's Alliance - which is trailing in the polls - secure votes.
Opposition figures described the moves as “an attempt to engineer election results” and the “elimination of the will of voters.”
Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) Election Affairs Commission Co-Spokesperson and Batman Deputy Mehmet Rüştü Tiryaki said the 15-item package proposed by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) constitutes “anti-democratic practices.” He indicated that the move to lower the election threshold is pro-MHP -- if the threshold remained at 10%, the party would not qualify.
“Since they cannot win the election normally, they are trying to affect the election results by making changes in the election law,” Tiryaki said.
Yavuz Ağıralioğlu, deputy chairman of İYİ (Good) Party, said that the package made clear that the ruling alliance’s aim was to “manage to stay in power” rather than to rule Turkey in a democratic manner.
“The changes they’ve made are not for breathing life into the country, but for breathing life into the alliance,” he said.
He said that after two decades in power, the AKP is changing the election law “according to its needs.”
“What we see in these moves of the government is the eagerness to seek the advantage of power,” Ağıralioğlu said.
He added that if the opposition Nation Alliance were to come to power, they would implement voter reform and judicial review that would limit the “political monism” that has come to the fore under the AKP.
İdris Şahin, head of Election Affairs for the Democracy and Progress Party (DEVA), echoed these concerns, saying that the package was an attempt to “engineer” election results and deprive voters of a voice at the polls. The ruling alliance, he said, is trying to change the laws just before the planned 2023 elections to benefit themselves.
He further added that articles in the package that would allocate representatives per party, not alliance, deprived voters of their rights.
"We are talking about a government that attacks the will of the whole nation,” Şahin said. “The ruling parties who are playing this game and this engineering thee elections will receive the loudest response at the ballot box.”
(English version by Erin O'Brien)