Erdoğan considers a new election system to boost the strongest party

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said that the government has been working to change the electoral system to the “first-past-the-post” model, known to be a system that favors the strongest party in elections.
Responding to reporters’ questions following midday prayers at the Hisarcıklıoğlu mosque on Friday, the prime minister said that the ruling party was planning to introduce the first-past-the-post system in which only one deputy will be elected in each electoral constituency. Abolishing the election threshold, which at the moment stands at 10 percent in general elections, is also on the government’s agenda.
“The ruling party is introducing this system because it knows that it is risky, based on the election result that it obtained in the recent local elections, to come to power as a single party in the next general election,” Yusuf Halaçoğlu, parliamentary group deputy chairman of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), told Today’s Zaman.
In the new system, Turkey will be divided into 550 constituencies. The deputy obtaining the largest share of the vote in a given constituency will be elected to Parliament, while candidates from the other political parties will simply be eliminated. 

Noting that the first-past-the-post system was in use in Turkey between 1950 and 1960, Halaçoğlu emphasized that the system produced results that were very unfair in terms of parliamentary representation.  
Erdoğan said that they would submit the proposal to Parliament before it enters the summer recess. It is likely that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) will be able to obtain a much higher number of deputies in the general elections scheduled to be held in June next year if the election law is amended as the prime minister would like. Based on the result of the last general election in 2011, it is estimated that the ruling party would have obtained around 380 deputies instead of 327, if the first-past-the-post system had been in effect at the last general elections.
“Seeing that its share of the vote is diminishing, the ruling party is attempting to amend [the election law] to obtain a more favorable result [in the next general election],” Atilla Kart, a deputy from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), told Today’s Zaman. To be in place by the general election next year, any amendment to the election law needs to be passed in Parliament by June 12 — the date on which the last general elections were held — as amendments that have been made less than a year before an election are not valid in that election, as per the Constitution.
On the same day, Erdoğan discussed his potential candidacy in the upcoming presidential election with the provincial heads of the ruling party and the party’s mayors. He canvassed their opinions in a meeting which was closed to the press. The cell phones of all participants were collected before they entered the meeting room to prevent possible wiretapping.
During the meeting, Erdoğan spoke in an accusatory tone about CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu due to a voice recording that was leaked on YouTube in which some top Turkish officials, including Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, discussed possible cross-border intervention by Turkey in the Syrian crisis.
“Obviously, one of the most confidential talks involving state officials was given to the ‘general manager’ of the CHP and he was able to listen to the audio recording. Obviously, the ‘general manager’ of the CHP was part of this great attempt at betrayal. They [the CHP] should explain to what extent they have cooperated and are in alliance with the organization in Pennsylvania,” Erdoğan said.
The prime minister’s mention of the US state of Pennsylvania is a clear reference to Fethullah Gülen, the Turkish Islamic scholar who is the main inspiration behind the Hizmet movement and who lives there. To insult the CHP leader, Erdoğan calls Kılıçdaroğlu “general manager” of the CHP, following Kılıçdaroğlu’s decision, after the graft probe which became public in December last year, to call Erdoğan “head of thieves” rather than prime minister — claiming that Erdoğan is at the center of the alleged corruption in the government.


About yavuzbaydar

Yavuz Baydar has been an award-winning Turkish journalist, whose professional activity spans nearly four decades. In December 2013, Baydar co-founded the independent media platform, P24, Punto24, to monitor the media sector of Turkey, as well as organizing surveys, and training workshops. Baydar wrote opinion columns, in Turkish, liberal daily Ozgur Dusunce and news site Haberdar, and in English, daily Today's Zaman, on domestic and foreign policy issues related to Turkey, and media matters, until all had to cease publications due to growing political oppression. Currently, he writes regular chronicles for Die Süddeutsche Zeitung, and opinion columns for the Arab Weekly, as well as analysis for Index on Censorship. Baydar blogs with the Huffington Post, sharing his his analysis and views on Turkish politics, the Middle East, Balkans, Europe, U.S-Turkish relations, human rights, free speech, press freedom, history, etc. His opinion articles appeared at the New York Times, the Guardian, El Pais, Svenska Dagbladet, and Al Jazeera English online. Turkey’s first news ombudsman, beginning at Milliyet daily in 1999, Baydar worked in the same role as reader representative until 2014. His work included reader complaints with content, and commentary on media ethics. Working in a tough professional climate had its costs: he was twice forced to leave his job, after his self-critical columns on journalistic flaws and fabricated news stories. Baydar worked as producer and news presenter in Swedish Radio &TV Corp. (SR) Stockholm, Sweden between 1979-1991; as correspondent for Scandinavia and Baltics for Turkish daily Cumhuriyet between 1980-1992, and the BBC World Service, in early 1990's. Returning to Turkey in 1994, he worked as reporter and ediytor for various outlets in print, as well as hosting debate porogrammes in public and private TV channels. Baydar studied informatics, cybernetics and, later, had his journalism ediucatiob in the University of Stockholm. Baydar served as president of the U.S. based International Organizaton of News Ombudsmen (ONO) in 2003. He was a Knight-Wallace Fellow at University of Michigan in 2004. Baydar was given the Special Award of the European Press Prize (EPP), for 'excellence in journalism', along with the Guardian and Der Spiegel in 2014. He won the Umbria Journalism Award in March 2014 and Caravella/Mare Nostrum Prize in 2015; both in Italy. Baydar completed an extensive research on self-censorship, corruption in media, and growing threats over journalism in Turkey as a Shorenstein Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.
This entry was posted in Turkey. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s