Voters’ electoral system

Turks are going to the polls tomorrow for the general election. Most voters are aware that the current electoral system is an unjust and undemocratic one, especially because of the 10 percent threshold for a party to get into Parliament. So they will try, via their own means, to correct the situation.
Neither the electoral system nor the campaigning period is transparent or democratic enough. First of all, there is no such thing as andquotequality of weaponsandquot in Turkish elections. In other words, political parties do not enjoy the same rights and privileges to conduct an effective electoral campaign. Some political groups have many administrative and economic means at their disposal while others have to struggle for everything on a daily basis. While some parties can count on the support of influential media outlets, others have literally nothing to reach out to the public with.
Therefore, an ordinary voter will first try to neutralize this inequality: When people believe they are not getting enough information through the press about the political movement they want to learn more about, they go and talk to their neighbors, taxi drivers or delivery guys. Thus many people have tried to figure out if the pro-Kurdish Peoplesand’ Democratic Party (HDP) really wants to liberate Kurdistan Workersand’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah andOcalan, if the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) is really on the rise, if Justice and Development Party (AK Party) voters are really unwilling to vote for their party again, if the Republican Peopleand’s Party (CHP) is really saying something new, and so on. People have tried to gather as much information as possible and compare what people they trust say about the possible outcomes of the election.
Elections in Turkey are based on a single-round vote but voters go to polling stations as though they are voting for the second round because they vote for the first round in their heads. They first think about the party they like the most, but then ask if their party can indeed win the election. If the answer is yes, they will vote for it. If the answer is no, they will then ask which party will be able to do more damage to the winning party. So they vote for their second-best choice.
They also ask themselves which parties might build a coalition government in the wake of the election. There are a number of traditional CHP voters who say they will vote for the HDP this time as they believe the latter will wound the ruling AK Party more than the CHP. Besides, an important number of CHP voters are persuaded that their party will never receive the majority in Parliament and rule the country alone. Maybe by voting for the HDP they are also sending the signal that they will not reject a possible CHP-HDP coalition in the future.
We have to point out that the only undemocratic part of the Turkish electoral system is not the 10 percent threshold. Peopleand’s tactical decisions make it impossible to know for sure how many people support this or that party and for which reasons.
If, for example, Turkey had a two-round election with single-member constituencies, we would have more information on which part of the country supports who and why. Moreover, that would force political parties to be more transparent and to announce, for example, whom they are planning to build a coalition government with. Therefore, voters would not feel as betrayed or mislead by the candidates after the election.
One may say Turkeyand’s electoral system has many problems, exactly like all other systems about every other thing in the country. People believe their country is not just, transparent or democratic so they believe the electoral system only reflects the nature of the country.
Well, the half-full part of the glass is: There is a rooted belief that the current electoral system serves the interests of the ruling party. Maybe the latter will also seriously think about reforming the electoral system following the election.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman