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Turkish parliament ratifies controversial electoral law

2018-03-13 22:59:59 (Beijing Time)         news.xinhuanet.com

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ANKARA, March 13 (Xinhua) -- The Turkish parliament on Tuesday ratified a set of changes to the country's electoral law, paving the way to form electoral alliances among political parties.

During the overnight marathon session, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) supported the 26-article bill that is critical for due election in 2019.

Among the changes, the most controversial one is to allow political parties to form alliances, which means smaller parties could bypass a 10-percent electoral threshold by allying with a main party.

Political analyst said that the move would allow President Erdogan's ruling party to enter a formal alliance with the nationalist party, permitting the latter to gain parliamentary seats and thus consolidate AKP's majority advantage in the parliament.

The AKP and MHP have earlier announced an agreement to form what they have dubbed the "People's Alliance."

The law also brings important amendments to the election procedure, including giving the government the right to appoint government officials to oversee ballot stations, call in the security forces and to move ballot boxes. The opposition argues these changes will raise risk over poll safety.

In the referendum held in April 2017, Turkish voters approved constitutional amendment to establish presidential system in the country, which would hand wide-ranging executive powers to the president.

Next year's elections will be Turkey's first under the new presidential system of government. Parliamentary and presidential elections are to take place in November 2019.