'Mainstream' parliament on the way

Seats in the new parliament are expected to be filled with more mainstream deputies after the upcoming elections on July 22.

'Mainstream' parliament on the way
Seats in the new parliament are expected to be filled with more mainstream deputies after the upcoming elections on July 22, with political parties replacing many of their current deputies with new figures, who they hope will give them a political facelift, on their candidate lists.

Contrary to expectations of a much smaller reform, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party), which is expected to perform well in the upcoming elections, removed some 163 deputies from its candidate lists. Its closest rival, the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), also got rid of some 60 deputies, with 30 more current deputies ranked at bottom of the lists, making their election unlikely. The combined result of the reshuffle in the two frontrunner parties' candidate lists is that nearly half of the 550-seat Parliament will be replaced with newcomers after July 22.

In the Turkish parliamentary elections, each party sends a list of ranked nominees for each constituency. The more votes a party wins, the more deputies it can send to parliament, provided the party can cross the 10 percent parliamentary representation threshold nationally.

The reshuffle in the AK Party lists affected the party's more conservative wing, which mostly came from the National View tradition of former Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan. Erbakan was forced to step out as prime minister in 1997 after his government became the target of a military-steered campaign known as the February 28 process. Thus, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan removed former National View members such as the head of Parliament's Human Rights Commission Mehmet Elkatmış and brought in figures such as former left-wing politician Ertuğrul Günay to boost the party's image as a conservative centrist.

Women also are expected to have a stronger representation in Parliament, though women's organizations say it is still not enough. The AK Party named some 63 women in its candidate lists for Parliament, submitted to the Higher Election Board (YSK) on Monday evening. The CHP, for its part, nominated 52 women candidates.

Modest estimates based on their ranking in the two frontrunner parties’ candidate lists show that some 40 women are likely to make their way to Parliament after July 22.

“I think this shows that all parties have acted sensitively,” said Arzuhan Doğan Yalçındağ, the first woman leader of the Turkish Businessmen and Industrialists’ Association’s (TUSİAD). “I hope we’ll see the reflection of this in Parliament.” According to women’s organizations, which campaigned forcefully to increase female participation in politics, the increase in the number of women candidates for Parliament is not enough, since most of the nominees are ranked at bottom of the lists, making it unlikely for them to get elected.

Outside the two biggest parties, a number of smaller political parties, fearing that they would not be able to cross the 10 percent threshold, instead nominated independent candidates. Conservative-nationalist Grand Unity Party (BBP) leader Muhsin Yazıcıoğlu, pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP) leader Ahmet Türk and leftist Freedom and Solidarity Party (ÖDP) leader Ufuk Uras are running in the elections as independent candidates.

Source: Today's Zaman
Last Mod: 06 Haziran 2007, 10:02
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