The Antidemocratic Practices Continue as AKP Decides to Keep the 10-Percent Election Threshold

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The governing AKP has recently declared that they have decided to commit to the antidemocratic status quo election system in place that imposes a 10 percent election threshold. Although Prime Minister Erdoğan insistently hides behind that it was not their government who put the election threshold in place; his government has consistently neglected the taking down or lowering of the threshold and benefited from it the most in each election they have participated in so far.

The government had previously stated that they would be participating in the discussion of either a reform of the election system or the lowering of the election threshold to 5 percent; however, following the election and AKP chose to estimate their own best strategy regarding such a reform and decided to not open up such a reform to discussion.

Nevertheless, AKP opened the possibility of a reform at their own Central Committee meetings and chose to approach the issue from a utilitarian approach to maximize their own seats at the parliament instead of regarding it the democratic matter of Turkey as a whole. As a result, the government decided to carry on with the election system in place. As we near the date for the Presidential elections, the governing party is predicted to be focusing on strategizing and campaigning for the elections rather than considering the necessary reform for democratization.

It is not acceptable for Turkey’s agenda to be shaped around the Prime Minister’s political career, reforms and steps for democratization cannot be disregarded just because the elections are coming up. It is impossible to democratize the country before democratizing politics; and it is imperative that the legislations governing the political party bylaws and the election system.

The fact that the governing party benefits from and hides behind the coup-d’état-constitution in place showcase their unwillingness to carry out democratic reforms. The first step towards lifting the military guardianship over politics is to election threshold.

The democratic and political resolution of the peace process cannot be constructed on the political framework in place that feeds further political polarization and tension.

Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) believes that the representation of all political views in the parliament constitutes the benchmark of stabilization and equality. The argument that the decision to commit to another set of elections with a 10 percent election threshold restores political stability only illustrates the government’s restoration of its [democratic] hypocrisy. Justice ensures peace, and it is peace that restores stability and trust.

Ayhan Bilgen
Vice Co-Chair
May 3, 2014

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