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Turkey's ruling party moves to clamp down on Kurdish party

Turkey's ruling party moves to clamp down on Kurdish party

Turkey's ruling party on Thursday submitted a proposal to parliament which would make it harder for a pro-Kurdish party to field candidates to parliament as independent candidates in elections.
A high, 10 percent electoral threshold _ the percentage of votes needed before a party can enter parliament _ prevents a legal Kurdish party from being represented in parliament and news reports have said the party, the Democratic Society Party, was now considering circumventing the problem by making its candidates stand as independents at Turkey's next general elections.
The threshold does not apply to independent candidates.
The move comes despite the European Union's call on Turkey to reduce the threshold and ensure wider representation in parliament.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Justice and Development Party's proposal would amend the electoral law and scrap independent candidates' right to have separate ballot papers from those used to chose candidates running for elections under party lists.
The independent candidates could stand outside polling stations and hand over ballot papers with their names already inscribed to voters, giving them a slight advantage over the political parties' candidates.
In Turkey's relatively poor, and Kurdish-dominated southeast, where literacy is low and some people don't speak Turkish, voters often find it easier to pop an independent candidate's ballot paper into the envelope than to select a candidate from a complicated and long ballot paper listing all of the parties.
Newspaper reports have said the government's move is aimed at the Democratic Society Party which has replaced the now defunct Democratic People's Party, or DEHAP, and which won only 6.2 percent of the national vote in the last elections, held in 2002.
Separately, the ruling party also submitted a draft constitutional amendment to reduce from 30 to 25 the minimum age for election to parliament with the aim of attracting younger voters and giving younger politicians a chance to run in the polls.
The parliament was expected to debate and approve the changes next week.


Updated : 2021-04-21 17:08 GMT+08:00