New system, old flavor
A new government and a new system: What do the election results mean for democracy? 2018 elect ons: Behind the numbers
The numbers show Erdogan and the AK Party were the winners. But have things changed?
1 Why are the elections important?
Because it was the last step in bringing the constitutional amendments adopted by the referendum last year into full swing, which will transform Turkey into a fully presidential system.
2 What is the president’s new authority in the new system?
The president will appoint and discharge his deputies and ministers alone. The ministers will be accountable to the president, not the parliament. The president will be able to make regulations by decrees, which will be valid in the absence of a law on the issue. The oversight functions of the parliament will be reduced. The president will have a strong voice in appointing judges and prosecutors.
3 What were the result of the presidential elections?
According to unconfirmed results, the ruling AK Party Chairman and President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, got 52.6 percent of the votes (26.3 million) and was re-elected president. Muharrem Ince, from the CHP, received 30.6 percent of votes (15.3 million.) Selahattin Demirtas, candidate for the HDP succeeded in getting 8.4 percent (4.2 million) of the votes, despite his imprisonment. Meral Aksener, leader of the Good Party, a breakaway from the MHP, received 7.3 percent (3.6 million).
4 How were the votes distributed in parliamentary elections?
The ruling AK Party won 42.6 percent of the votes in the parliamentary elections, giving it the plurality. The social democratic CHP came in second with 22.6 percent. The HDP managed to surpass the 10 percent election threshold with 11.7 percent of the votes while the nationalist conservative MHP, which supported AKP candidate Erdogan in the presidential elections, received 11.1 percent.
5 How will parliamentary seats be distributed?
Based on these results, the AK Party will take 295 deputies into the 600-seat parliament. Thus, for the first time, the ruling party will not have the majority. CHP deputies will take the second most seats with 146 while the HDP, a large number of whose deputies are in prison, won 67 seats and became parliament’s third-largest party. The MHP will have 49 deputies, while the Good Party, will have 43.
6 How much did the alliance system affect the results?
Based on the alliance law, the MHP, which allied with the AK Party over concerns about missing the 10 percent threshold, was guaranteed to enter the parliament on the back of the AK Party result. Similarly, the Felicity Party, which joined the National Alliance with the CHP and GOOD Party, would have retained its parliamentary deputies even if it had failed to reach the threshold but ultimately failed to win enough votes to field a deputy. Both alliances have made declarations of goodwill and promise joint action in parliament but there is no binding agreement on this issue.
7 What is the consequence of the AK Party not having the majority in the parliament?
With its 295 deputies, despite being below the 301 necessary for an absolute majority, the AK Party will still have the effective majority while legislating during parliamentary general assemblies if the number of MPs participating in the assembly is less than 580. Otherwise, the AK Party may be unable to enact laws. However, this would happen only on very rare occasions. Thus, the AK Party will not need its alliance partner’s support very often.
8 According to the new constitution, how many votes are needed for legislative work?
At least 200 deputies are required for a quorum in the general assembly. In the current setup, only the AK Party has enough MPs. At least 151 deputies are required for the adoption of legislation, which again, only the AK Party has. Therefore, no other party can issue a law alone. If the number of deputies participating in the general assembly exceeds 301, the 151 vote limit will also increase to whatever absolute majority is needed. For the opposition to pass a law, it will need to unify all parties outside the AK Party. The parliament needs at least 360 votes to dissolve parliament and force early elections so for that to happen, the AK Party will also need to be on board, which is virtually impossible.
9 How many votes are needed for a constitutional amendment?
The number of signatures required to propose amendments to the Constitution is 200. No party other than the AK Party can reach this number on its own. The National Alliance needs the support of 11 deputies from other parties to pass this threshold. The constitutional amendment requires 400 votes for adoption without a referendum and 360 for acceptance with a referendum. In both cases, neither the Presidential Alliance nor the National Alliance’s votes are enough to make constitutional amendments.
10 How many votes are needed for oversight of the executive by the parliament?
As it is the only effective means of supervising the executive, the parliament needs 301 votes to launch an investigation into the president, his deputies or his ministers, 360 to approve its findings and 400 to refer the case to the Supreme Court. Currently, a proposal to launch will only pass if all the parties besides the AK Party are united. Even then, they cannot guarantee its approval. So without participation of the AK Party, the parliament is effectively prevented from using this tool.