In a historical vote in the Turkish parliament, the national elections threshold of 10% was lowered to 7% on Thursday.
The electoral threshold was set at 10% of the national vote of the whole of Turkey under pressure of the military junta following the coup in Turkey in 1980, essentially to prevent pro-Kurdish political parties from entering the parliament, as well as a preventive measure against the possibility of the socialist left’s representation, which had managed to form a parliamentary group during the 1960s when there was no election threshold.
After the victory of the pro-Kurdish opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) in the 2015 elections when the party did not only secure more than 13% of the popular vote but also enabled a new one-party government of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), the threshold practically lost its meaning.
It could no longer be used against the socialist left neither because of the alliance between the Kurdish political movement and socialist groups under the roof of the HDP. Many socialist candidates were elected as deputies in the 2015 and 2018 elections thanks to the alliance.
Eventually the 10% threshold also turned into a serious risk for the establishment itself as all polls started suggesting that AKP’s coalition partner, Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), now seemed to have a diminished support of about 8% and even less.
So the legislation was rectified on the 31st of March with AKP and MHP deputies voting in favour.
While HDP no longer faces a challenge at even a 10% threshold, the new danger awaiting the party is the case against it in the Turkish Constitutional Court, which might end up with the party’s dissolution before the general elections 18 June next year.