The AKP, which has decided to conduct studies into an amended electoral system and also electoral alliances as part of harmonisation regulations, is investigating what the consequences for the party would be if the existing system is kept as it is and if smaller-sized and small constituencies are introduced. In simulations based on smaller-sized constituencies of five per province and 600 members of parliament, while the number of AKP members increases by ten per cent to around 350, the MHP gets even fewer members than under the existing system.
The AKP administration, which is in no hurry over the electoral system, lowering the threshold and alliances, has set up a subcommission at party headquarters to deal with the matter. With the commission yet to start work, it is said that it will take until 2019 for a potential regulation to come onto the parliamentary agenda. One particular view that is gaining ground in the party is that there is no need for a change to be made to the electoral system with the workings of presidential system having yet to be seen and matters such as the electoral system, the threshold and alliances should be assessed following the elections scheduled for November 2019. The AKP administration has conducted simulation studies as to what the consequences for the party would be under the current system taking account of the increase in the number of members of parliament to 600 and the smaller-sized constituency system.
Based on the results in the 1 November elections, simulations made under the existing system show the AKP taking 29 of the 50 MPs, while the MHP gets five. In simulations based on smaller-sized constituencies of five per province, in turn, the greatest increase is in the number of AKP members. Under this system, the number of AKP members increases to around 350. What is most notable in this situation, however, is the MHP’s position. The MHP, which is positioned to get five of the fifty new MPs under the current system, finds the number of its members falling even below their current level under smaller-sized constituencies of five per province. Even if the AKP is conducting studies into smaller-sized constituencies, it is forecast that the election will be held under the current system.
Prospect of a repeat of 2002
Despite the warm messages that President Tayyip Erdoğan and Prime-Minister Binali Yıldırım have given in response to MHP General Chair Devlet Bahçeli’s comments over an alliance, rather than making a clear pronouncement as to whether an alliance is to be made with the MHP, they confine themselves to saying that the matter will be assessed at leadership level. Certain party administrators, for their part, are voicing the view, “If we make an alliance with the MHP, Meral Akşener will cross the threshold. If we don’t, both will remain below the threshold. The HDP also appears in polls to be below the threshold. The prospect emerges of a repeat of 2002 – only the AKP and the CHP could enter parliament.”