Jun 29 2018

Does AKP really need the support of its ultranationalist ally in parliament?

When the distribution of the seats among political parties in the Turkish parliament after the elections on June 24 and the number of votes needed for critical decisions are compared, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) does not seem to need its ally the National Movement Party’s (MHP) support for routine legislative work, columnist İsmet Özkul wrote in Dünya newspaper on Friday.

The AKP won 295 seats and the MHP 49 seats in parliament in the Jun. 24 elections, giving their alliance a combined 344 votes for critical decisions to be passed. The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has 146 seats and its right-wing "Nation Alliance" partner in the elections, the Good Party, has 43 seats, though it is not certain whether they will continue to act together in parliament. The pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) won 67 seats. 

According to the new system adopted in the 2017 referendum, 200 votes are needed to adjourn a parliamentary plenary session. Therefore the AKP can call a parliamentary session by itself, while the Nation Alliance will need the support of either the HDP or the MHP.

A minimum of 151 votes is needed to pass new laws in parliament, and this number increases if more than 301 deputies are present during the voting. Therefore, the AKP alone is able to pass laws, while opposing parties will need each other’s support. Moreover, 301 votes are needed to pass a law vetoed by the president, meaning that opposition parties will also need the MHP’s support.

200 deputies can propose a change to the Turkish constitution, meaning the AKP again has enough seats, while the Nation Alliance is short of 11 deputies. To pass a constitutional change without a referendum 400 votes are required, while 360 seats are needed to call a referendum and early elections. Therefore the combined AKP and the MHP votes are not enough alone to change the constitution, while any move by the opposition to call for early elections or a refrendum will need to secure votes from the AKP.

For a parliamentary proposal to launch an inquiry into the president or a member of the cabinet 301 votes are needed, while 360 votes are required to pass the proposal. Moreover, 400 votes are needed to refer the president or a member of his cabinet to the Supreme Criminal Tribunal.  All of these will be impossible without votes from the AKP in the new parliament.

Therefore, the AKP does not need the MHP for routine legislative work. According to Özkul's analysis, the party will still need additional votes even if the MHP gives support for decisions which the AKP votes are not sufficient.