UPDATE-Turkish parties submit bill to allow electoral alliance

UPDATE-Turkish parties submit bill to allow electoral alliance

Bill, submitted by ruling AK Party and opposition MHP, looks ahead to their electoral alliance in 2019 presidential poll


By Muhammet Emin Avundukluoglu

ANKARA (AA) - Looking ahead to an alliance in the 2019 poll, Turkey's ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party and opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) on Wednesday submitted a bill to the parliament speaker's office to allow electoral alliances.

The bill bears the signature of Prime Minister Binali Yildirim and MHP leader Devlet Bahceli.

The bill, which comprises of 26 articles, states a political party can back another during elections.

It adds that votes received by the alliance will be counted separately for each party.

The number of elected lawmakers representing the alliance will be based on the total number of votes it gets. Also, lawmakers representing each party of the alliance will be decided based on the specific number of votes it gets.

The alliance parties may together extend the 10 percent election threshold, a requirement for representation in the 550-seat parliament.

The parties which decide on making an alliance should submit an application to the Supreme Election Board (YSK) within seven days after the election calendar is announced.

The names of the parties will be placed next to their candidates on the ballot paper. Also, the name of the alliance the candidates or parties belong to will be stated in a separate column.

In case the alliance does not have a name, the word "alliance" will be placed on the ballot paper.

The election board may set up portable ballot boxes for patients, provided that they submit their medical reports in advance. However, they will not be able to vote in mukhtar elections (village heads).

The age of candidacy will also be lowered to 18 for the local elections.

All ballot papers, for the local, presidential and parliamentary elections will be put in the same envelope.

On Jan. 8, Bahceli announced that his party would support President and AK Party leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the 2019 presidential elections rather than field a candidate of its own.

Ahead of a constitutional referendum last April, both the AK Party and MHP campaigned for the sweeping package of changes.

In the referendum, Turkish voters approved a package of constitutional changes handing wide-ranging executive powers to the president and also allowing the president to retain ties to a political party.

The MHP has also worked with the AK Party on foreign policy issues, particularly since the July 2016 defeated coup orchestrated by the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), which martyred 250 people and injured some 2,200 others.

Next year's presidential elections will be Turkey's first under the new presidential system of government.

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