Turkey's presidential election threshold should be lowered to 40 pct - ex-minister

A two-time former minister and founding member of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has called for the over 50 percent threshold in the country’s presidential election to be lowered to 40 percent. 

According to Turkey’s current system, the presidential election can have either one or two rounds. If a candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote in the first round, that candidate is declared the winner.

The present “50+1 formula would fatigue Turkey,” and the candidate that “receives 40 percent or more should be elected Turkish president in the first round of the polls,” Faruk Çelik, who has held two ministerial posts in previous AKP governments and is currently a board member in the state-owned Ziraat Bank, told Bursa-based local Turkish newspaper Olay.

Çelik’s comments follow an almost 10 point drop in the approval rating of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in one year to 44 percent, according to a survey conducted in September by Ankara-based pollster Metropoll.

Erdoğan’s ruling AKP suffered a stinging blow in the March local elections. The Islamist party, which has ruled Turkey for 17 years, lost five of Turkey’s most populous provinces to the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), including the capital Ankara and financial hub Istanbul.

Analysts have pointed to the country’s 2018 financial crisis, which sent the lira on a downward spiral against the U.S. dollar, as the driving force behind the waning support for Turkey’s strongman. The country’s economy slumped into a recession in the second half of last year, before emerging with positive quarter-on-quarter growth in the first three months of 2019.

Turkey’s next presidential election is scheduled to take place in 2023.