Suggestion to the opposition: By-election against the change of electoral system

Assoc. Dr. Cop of Burak*

Last week, the draft law was submitted to parliament, which includes an amendment that changes the way the AKP-MHP bloc calculates the distribution of deputies, as well as the method of determining the chairmen of electoral commissions, and also makes difficult for opposition observers to cooperate on polling day.

It is very difficult for the government to regain the social support it has lost as the possibility of losing the next election becomes clear. In turn, he is expected to pull rabbits out of the hat until the election.

The first rabbit was the change in the electoral system. Plus, it gives an idea of ​​the next bunny. One of the elements of the package eliminates the possibility for a party that has not fulfilled the organizational conditions to participate in the elections thanks to its group in Parliament. This change, which would have been included in the package four years ago in response to the election of the IYI party by transferring 15 deputies from the CHP, could serve a currently undisclosed objective.

If the HDP is shut down, many people will lose their parliamentary seats due to the accompanying political bans, and perhaps the number of MPs will fall below the minimum number of groups forming 20. Let’s say the scenario of staying under the 20 years has not materialized or that the number of groups to form a new party has been reached with some brave names from TİP or other parties. Then, following the modification that seems destined to be made to the electoral law, this new party risks being excluded from the ballot because it cannot fulfill the conditions of organization in 41 provinces and of holding its major congress. at least six months before the election. It should be noted that the HDP’s support party, the DBP, is not on the list of eligible parties, announced by the YSK at the beginning of this year.

There is a small chance that the parliamentary seats that will fall as a result of the HDP’s closure will lead Turkey to a mandatory by-election. The Constitution and the law on parliamentary elections stipulate that by-elections must be held in the relevant electoral circles when there is a vacancy of five percent of the total number of members (i.e. 30 out of 600 deputies ) in the Grand National Assembly of Turkey. Currently, 19 seats are vacant in the Turkish Grand National Assembly. It is clear that this number will rise well above 30 in an eventual decision to close.

So why is the closure of the HDP so unlikely to lead to a by-election? The answer is lack of time. Partial elections cannot take place one year before the general elections. The date of the next general election is June 18, 2023. Therefore, if there is to be a by-election, it must take place no later than June 12 of this year.

In the event of a vacancy of 5% of the deputies, the TGNA decides to organize partial elections within three months. This is what blocks the calendar. Even if the possible decision to close the HDP is taken as soon as possible (April? May?) and that the Parliament decides quickly on partial elections, it does not seem possible for the YSK to hold the election before June 12 .

What about events? ‘Ordinary’ The by-election, which does not seem to be able (as it is appropriate to use this term now) to take place, can it be forced by the opposition to respond with a counter-movement to the move of the AKP-MHP duo to change the electoral system? hat?

To reach the number 30, 11 additional seats must be released. Whether these 11 loyal MPs are all from the CHP or some of them are from the IYI party remains to be seen. The main problem is that these 11 people come from 11 provinces where the national alliance is strong and unrelated to the 19 positions currently vacant.

If by-elections are held, it will be a revealing vote of the political atmosphere across the country, in which tens of millions of voters will go to the polls. Some of the 30 deputies can be won by the AKP, of course, but it is obvious that a by-election, in which the loss of blood in the popular alliance will not be reflected in the results of the poll, but in the ballot box itself, will lead to the demoralization of the ruling party and the self-confidence it will give to the opposition around 2023.

Another possibility is that the government decides to hold early elections, albeit brazenly, against the contestation of the by-elections which will turn into a vote of confidence for the public alliance and even for the presidential system, where more than half of the The country’s voters will go to the polls. Instead of going into the 2023 election with demoralized cadres and getting a difference, the government may prefer to hold an election in which it will set its own date (for example, it will agree with the opposition that held in the fall).

Constitution and electoral law. “It is decided that partial elections will take place within three months” The expression does not mean that the Assembly determines the next three months. This communiqué specifies that the election will take place in three months at the latest. There is no doubt that the YSK has the capacity to prepare for elections within 60 days, as it did in November 2015 and June 2018. Considering that June 12 is the last possible date for by-elections, the YSK will be able to meet the requirements of the Parliament’s decision at the end of March or the beginning of April.

Of course, that’s a strong possibility. The Constitution requires the approval of the General Assembly of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey for the resignation of MPs from the deputy. In order to prevent partial elections, the AKP-MHP majority in parliament cannot approve resignations. Along with the emergence of an ironic situation such as the government’s pursuit of the deputies of a group of opposition deputies in force, the government falls into the position of being afraid of the ballot box and fleeing. The fact that the opposition reveals (even satirizes) this situation with all its might will certainly attract the attention of the electorate.

Well, if the government sees the opposition by-elections stop, will the opposition parties fall into the well they have dug? In other words, will the parties of the Popular Alliance reach the number of deputies (minimum 360) which can bring the constitutional amendment to a referendum? The total number of deputies of the AKP, MHP and BBP is 334. To reach 360, the People’s Alliance must win 26 deputies out of 30. In a word, impossible. Such a score is more likely to be achieved by the opposition.

It’s the landscape. However, the opposition must act quickly. Hurry up.

*Bahçeşehir University – Faculty member of the Department of Political Science and International Relations

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