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Specifically: Once religion integrates into politics, there will be still be more splinter parties within secularists and less under the ultimate unifier, Islam

Reader comment on item: Who Lost Turkey?

Submitted by Lazman (United States), Jun 13, 2010 at 18:38

The 10 percent threshold not only excludes alternative views and governance from the parliament, it enables the parties with higher percentage to cannibalize the votes of the parties that didn't make it. A party can end up almost doubling the representation in the parliament to two-third with a one-third of the total votes; as in the 2002 "landslide" victory for AKP.

What's even worse is that one party may in an underhanded manner support a newly formed party (ie, spun off from the opposition party) to establish just enough to divide or redirect votes and weaken the main competition.

Another flaw of the election system (or party leader's selection system) is that the deputies in the parliament are more or less part of a list of candidates by the party leader. They are there to serve the party leader and not necessarily the voters. Once in the parliament, they are told how to vote; party members who dare to disagree or criticize the "leader" may be kicked out. This can add to the problem where disgruntled party members could decide to start their own party and end up being part of the "under 10% threshold" issue.

Over the decades, this faulty election system has not been resolved by the secularist parties or the Islamist parties when in charge. No question - the secularist parties of the recent years turned out to be incompetent and greedy and have not connected with the public. Obviously, religion, especially Islam, can be very powerful tool and was and is being used masterfully by AKP and PM Erdogan. Until recently the main opposition leader Baykal of CHP has shown that he has more ego and ambition than the smarts and was losing CHP supporters and could only get so far with secularism platform alone. No wonder, Erdogan supposedly said (about Baykal) "can't ask for a better opposition."

However, with the recent replacement of Baykal with Kilicdaroglu in CHP there may be hope for secular representation at the next election. For two obvious reasons; splintered factions seem to be returning to CHP. Another, Erdogan is clearly bothered about this change and has last week at the height of Turkish Islamists vs Israel (or Netanyahu) quagmire called Mr. Kilicdaroglu the "Attorney for Tel Aviv" and I am sure he received high marks from his Islamist followers.

Submitting....

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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