Erdoğan ally says Turkey’s election threshold ‘confirmed’ to be set to 7 pct as both AKP and MHP suport slide

Devlet Bahçeli, leader of the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), said the ruling People’s Alliance his party is part of has confirmed its decision to lower the election threshold in Turkey to seven percent, Sabah newspaper reported on Wednesday.

“It is a needless waste of labour to discuss whether the election threshold will be five or seven per cent,” Bahçeli said. “Our President has announced to reporters that the threshold will be seven percent, putting an end to the search and efforts and confirming the People’s Alliance’s decision.”

During his flight back from a visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina on Sunday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told reporters that his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) favoured lowering the country’s unusually high 10 percent election threshold to a still high seven per cent.

Earlier in August, pro-government columnist Abdülkadir Selvi had written that the two parties had come to an agreement on five per cent.

The ruling alliance has been in agreement to overhaul the election system for several years, but details of electoral districts and threshold have remained disputed to date.

Currently, parties need to win at least 10 percent of the vote nationwide to enter parliament. The proposed system, a hybrid between the Turkish and British systems, introduces ‘narrowed regions’ as electoral districts that will have seven deputies each. As such, it favours larger parties such as the AKP, and disadvantages smaller ones including the MHP.

Turkey’s next general elections are scheduled for 2023.

A study that leading pollster Metropoll conducted in August showed a steep decline in the AKP’s votes, down to 25.4 percent from July’s 30.9 and 42.56 percent in the 2018 elections. The study figures don’t include a distribution of survey participants who said they were undecided.

The MHP appears to have increased its standing, with its estimated votes increasing to 8.9 per cent from July’s 5.5. Bahçeli’s party had won 11.10 per cent of the vote in 2018.