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 39 yıllık gazeteci. Mesleğe İsveç Radyosu'nda muhabir olarak başladı, oradan TV ve yazılı basına geçti. Sırasıyla Cumhuriyet İsveç muhabirliği, BBC Türkçe Servisi'nde yapımcı-sunuculuk, Yeni Yüzyıl'da dış haberler servis şefliği, Milliyet'te editörlük yaptı. 1999 yılı başında Milliyet Okur Temsilcisi olarak, medyada kurumsal bir 'özdenetim' yapısı olan ombudsmanlığı Türkiye'ye tanıtan ve ilk uygulayan kişi oldu. Bu görevi Milliyet ardından Sabah'ta da sürdürdü. Toplam 15 yıl süren bu görevi nedeniyle dünyanın en kıdemli ve 'uzman' ombudsmanlarından biri sayılıyor. Baydar, merkezi ABD'de bulunan Dünya Medya Ombudsmanları Örgütü'nde (ONO) başkanlık ve yürütme kurulu üyeliğini de üstlendi. Türkiye'ye döndüğü 1990'lı yılların ortasından bu yana çeşitli TV kanallarında başta Soru-Cevap olmak üzere çok sayıda analiz-tartışma programını hazırlayıp sunmuş olan Baydar, düzenli olarak Süddeutsche Zeitung ve The Arab Weekly için yorumlar yazmakta. Baydar, Ocak 2014'te bir grup meslektaşı ile beraber medya bağımsızlığı ve özgürlüğü alanında çalışmalar yürütmek üzere Bağımsız Gazetecilik Platformu'nun (P24) kurucu üyeleri arasında yer aldı. 2000 yılında 'Okur Temsilcisi' olarak yaptığı çalışmalar nedeniyle Çağdaş Gazeteciler Derneği'nin (ÇGD) Özel Ödülü'ne layık bulunan Baydar, 2014 yılında da, Avrupa'nın 'Pulitzer'i sayılan Avrupa Basın Ödülü'nü (EPP) 'meslekte mükemmeliyet' tanımlamasıyla aldı. 2004'te Michigan Üniversitesi'nde Knight-Wallace Araştırma Bursu ile 'Ortadoğu, demokrasi ve medya' konulu mesleki çalışmalar yapan Baydar, 2014 sonbaharında da Harvard Üniversitesi'ne bağlı Kennedy School'da 'Shorenstein Fellow' olarak Türkiye medyasında sansürün ve mali yozlaşmanın yayılmasını ele alan uzun bir rapor yayınladı. Baydar ayrıca Guardian, El Pais, New York Times gibi gazetelere de aralıklı olarak yorum ve analiz makaleleri yazıyor.
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