Lowering election threshold to Turkey’s benefit, says AKP deputy chair

Lowering Turkey’s election threshold would be beneficial for Turkey’s democracy, ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputy chairman Numan Kurtulmuş said on Wednesday.

Smaller parties are finding ways to overcome the 10 percent election threshold, which the AKP has long-maintained is too high, Hürriyet newspaper cited Kurtulmuş as saying during a TV interview.

Under current rules adopted after the 1980 military coup, parties in Turkey must receive 10 percent of the vote nationwide to enter parliament, the highest in stipulation in Europe.

Lowering the threshold would allow smaller parties to participate in the elections without necessarily joining alliances, potentially benefiting the AKP’s far-right ally, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), whose support is hovering at around ten percent.

'’The issue of the election threshold must be discussed,’’ Kurtulmuş said, adding that it was necessary to find ''an optimum point that would provide justice.’’ 

 The AKP’s voicing of its displeasure with the current threshold arrives amid declining support for the AKP and MHP, according to the latest polls.

Public support for President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s governing alliance has dropped to 46 percent from more than 50 percent, Diken news website reported on Tuesday, citing the average of polls conducted by 16 polling companies over the last three months.

Justice Minister Justice Abdülhamit Gül  also spoke on the matter on Wednesday, when he told state-run Anadolu news agency that the election threshold no longer ''had any meaning.’’ Gül said the topic of the election threshold would be discussed in parliament.