Lowering the electoral threshold as a lifebelt for the MHP

An electoral threshold of ten percent was once introduced in Turkey to prevent Kurdish and left-wing parties from entering parliament. Now the hurdle is to be lowered as a lifeline for the fascist MHP.

The Turkish government wants to lower the electoral threshold from ten percent to seven percent in order to secure the entry of the small coalition partner MHP into parliament in the next elections. HDP Vice Co-Chairwoman Meral Danış Beştaş calls the initiative a "lifeline" for the fascist MHP and tells ANF that her party has no need for a lowering of the electoral threshold: "We are a party that can get up to 15 percent of the vote and under normal conditions could even reach 20 percent with ease. Nevertheless, we have always been open to a coalition and will continue to be so."

The MP and lawyer points out that governing parties around the world make changes to the law when they are threatened with defeat in the upcoming elections. In Turkey, she says, a committee has been set up for this purpose: "The coalition partners are playing with the electoral law in order to regain their lost strength. They have already lost their ability to govern anyway. In the economic and social spheres, in the women's issue and in the Kurdish issue, there are major problems everywhere that the government is unable to solve. It has wanted to change the electoral law for more than two years and most recently stated that the electoral threshold should be lowered."

"Irony of history"

According to Meral Danış Beştaş, it is a well-known fact that this announced change is intended to save the MHP: "All the polls have shown that the MHP would currently fail at the electoral threshold. There is, of course, a certain irony of history behind this, because the electoral threshold was set up for us. It was introduced to prevent the Kurdish people and leftist, democratic and socialist circles from being represented in parliament. In the meantime, it is no longer us who are failing because of the threshold, but the MHP. That is why it is now to be lowered. It is a life preserver for the small coalition partner."

Commenting on the ongoing debate about possible electoral alliances, Beştaş said that the HDP is the third largest party in Turkey. "We have no alliance and no need for it. We are a party that can get up to 15 percent of the vote on its own and would even get 20 percent under normal circumstances. That is why we are not asking for an alliance with anyone. We are completely focused on strengthening our party and renewing the local chapters that have been weakened by arrests. Throughout the summer, we held meetings with the people as part of the 'We are the HDP, we are everywhere' campaign and drew great strength from them. We have experienced once again that people are behind us with great enthusiasm." Nevertheless, she said, the HDP is open in principle to coalitions.