AKP has its sights on the second round

The AKP is preparing to amend the Election Law. The aim is to prevent the opposition from making alliances in the second round.

22 Mart 2018 Perşembe, 15:15
Abone Ol google-news

Emine Kaplan
The AKP, which is working on changes to the Presidential Election Law as part of the harmonisation laws, is planning prior to the 2019 elections to ward off surprises and prevent certain potential alliances by tightening up the conditions governing presidential candidacy. In line with this, political parties will be able to nominate a single person as a candidate. In the presidential election, should one of the candidates entitled to stand in the second round be unable to do so for any reason, a tight deadline will imposed on the third ranking candidate standing in their place.
Withdrawing candidacy will be subjected to the deadline of 17.00 hours on the day following that on which the first-round results are announced in the Official Gazette. Resignations or withdrawals made after this deadline will not be entertained. The AKP administration, not wishing to leave the presidential elections slated for November 2019 to chance, has embarked on a quest for measures that will leave no room for potential alliances against President Tayyip Erdoğan in the amendments to be made to the Election Law within harmonisation procedures with the amended constitution. Following the statutory amendment envisaging amendment to alliance and electoral legislation, the second harmonisation package expected to be submitted to parliament will chiefly contain amendments to the Presidential Election Law. One the one hand, the AKP administration has been working on a 150-200 article “Turkish Election Law” combining the five election laws that run to 400 articles into a single law. If it appears that this bill will take time to emerge and will not be ready by the 2019 elections, amendments of limited scope including amendment to the Presidential Election Law will be mooted. With the provision made in the constitutional amendment adopted on 16 April for political party groups and at least 100,000 voters to field presidential candidates, the ten per cent criterion in the provision enabling political parties that singly or jointly obtained at least ten per cent of the total valid votes in the most recent previous general election to field candidates has been reduced to five per cent. The rules for nominating presidential candidates will be specified in the harmonisation law. Political party groups will be able to nominate a single person as candidate. As the constitutional provision enabling twenty members of parliament to nominate a candidate has been repealed, MPs outside a political group will be unable to nominate candidates.
Second round measures
Given the possibility of the presidential election running into a second round, the AKP is also planning to introduce certain regulations to hamper alliances against Erdoğan. According to the Constitution, if no candidate manages to attain a simple majority (fifty per cent plus one) in the first ballot, a second ballot will be held on the second Sunday following this ballot. The two candidates who obtain the highest vote in the first ballot will participate in this ballot and the candidate to obtain the majority of the valid votes will be elected president. Should one of the candidates who becomes entitled to participate in the second ballot not do so for any reason, the second ballot will be conducted through filling the vacated candidacy with the next highest polling candidate in the first round. The AKP will impose a deadline if, for any reason, one of the candidates who becomes entitled to participate in the second ballot does not do so. The formula being contemplated envisages resignation or withdrawal procedures being made by 17.00 hours on the day following that on which the first-round results are announced in the Official Gazette. Should eventualities such as resignation, withdrawal or death occur after this time, the replacement procedure will not be conducted. The AKP will in this way ensure there is insufficient time for the forming of a block around a candidate to oppose Erdoğan based on the first-round results. According to the constitutional amendment, one of his assistants will deputise for the President. However, if there are more than one assistant, it is open to question which one will deputise. The formula being mooted in the party is for the oldest assistant to deputise.