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Erdoğan set to reduce election threshold to 7 percent

In this file photo Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (R) meets Turkey's Nationalist Movement Party's (MHP) Leader, Devlet Bahçeli at Turkish Grand National Assembly in Ankara, on November 19, 2019. AFP

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said he is prepared to lower the election threshold to 7 percent upon receiving positive signals from the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), an ally of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), Turkish media reported.

Speaking to reporters on his way back from a visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro, Erdoğan said they have not yet received the final word from the MHP on the percentage.

The 10 percent election threshold, which is much higher than thresholds in democratic nations, has been a subject of criticism for years for being anti-democratic and an obstacle barring small parties from entering parliament. It was enacted following a military coup in 1980 and remains in place despite calls to lower it.

“Seven percent is what has emerged from the negotiations on the election threshold, but we have not yet received the final word from the MHP. Our proposal is 7 percent, and the MHP is favorable towards the 7 percent threshold,” Erdoğan said.

Erdoğan added that a lower threshold has not been proposed, but if it is, they are ready to discuss it.

The AKP’s change of attitude about the election threshold comes at a time when public surveys show support for the AKP and its election partner, the MHP, in a downward trend, falling to as low as 36.6 percent from more than 50 percent.

The AKP-MHP alliance received 54 percent of the nationwide vote in the 2018 general election.

The lowering of the election threshold is expected to benefit the MHP, whose public support is not adequate to push it over the current threshold.

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