Turkey’s Parliamentary Constitution Committee on March 24 accepted the new election draft law submitted by the ruling alliance of Justice and Development Party (AKP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).
Discussions on the 15-item proposal started at 3 p.m. on March 23 and lasted for 17 hours at the commission.
The draft law seeks to reduce the current 10 percent election threshold to seven percent and remove the requirement to establish parliamentary groups to enter elections. With this change, the government aims to halt the transfer of lawmakers between parties. Also, parties will be asked to complete their organization works in 41 provinces at least six months before the elections take place.
Opposition figures described the move as “an attempt to engineer election results” and the “elimination of the will of voters.”
The bill is likely to become law given the ruling alliance's majority in parliament. It would take effect about a year later, suggesting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan - whose opinion polls have touched their lowest in years - could hold off calling an early election.
Presidential and parliamentary elections are scheduled for no later than June 2023.
Opposition MPs challenge constitutional validity of new draft law
Meanwhile, opposition lawmakers submitted separate parliamentary motions challenging the constitutional validity of the new proposal, according to reporting by daily Cumhuriyet.
Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) lawmaker İbrahim Kaboğlu said that the draft law violates the constitutional amendment of 2017. "Parties do not compete on equal grounds. The current situation is unconstitutional,” he said.
“It is the political parties that compete in elections. Does the state compete? You are making the state a party and invalidating it," said CHP MP Muharrem Erkek.