Turkey has brought forward presidential and parliamentary elections that could pave the way for a single-party state with few checks on the power of the president, to 24 June, a year and a half ahead of schedule.
Turkey held a referendum on presidential powers in April last year. Narrowly approved by voters, the constitutional amendments abolished the office of prime minister and allowed the president to be a member of a political party, appoint unelected vice-presidents, and have a greater say in appointing judges to the highest judicial board in the country, as well as issuing decrees with the force of law.
The President of Turkey is elected using the two-round system; If no candidate wins a simple majority (50%+1 vote) in the first round a run-off will take place two weeks later between the two top candidates. Prospective presidential candidates must be at least 40 years old and must have completed higher education. Any political party that has won 5% of the vote in the previous parliamentary election can put forward a candidate, although parties that have not met this threshold can form alliances and field joint candidates as long as their total vote share exceeds 5%. Independents can run if they collect 100,000 signatures from the electorate. An estimate released in July 2017 predicted that collecting 100,000 signatures to stand for election could exceed ₺15 million (US$4.2 million) in costs, if each individual signature would require certification by a notary.
Based on the results of the previous general election results in November 2015, only the Justice and Development Party (AKP), Republican People’s Party (CHP), Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) are eligible to field candidates for the presidential election. The remaining parties combined received under 3% of the vote and are thus unable to field either a joint candidate or a candidate in their own right.
The 600 members of the Grand National Assembly will be elected from 85 multi-member constituencies, based on the country’s provinces. The elections will be held using proportional representation with an electoral threshold of 10%. Seats will be allocated using the d’Hondt method. In order to win seats, parties must be officially organised in 40 or more provinces and in at least a third of districts in those provinces, and must nominate two candidates in 40 or more provinces.
Sources and Further Reading:
Turkey to hold snap elections on 24 June, says Erdoğan, Guardian
Is Turkey’s opposition ready for snap elections? Hurriyet Daily News
Why did Turkey hold a referendum? BBC World
TURKEY 2017/2018, Amnesty International Report