Wednesday, March 30, 2011

An election threshold too high for democracy

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One of the biggest obstacles to democratization in Turkey is the unusually high election threshold that has effectively caused millions of votes in the country to be wasted each election year. The 10-percent election threshold in Turkey, which is twice as high as the European average, has been criticized by a number of diplomats from the European Union. However, thus far, there have been no serious discussions in Turkey to address the issue. As a result of Turkey's popular ruling parties - currently, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) - benefiting from the threshold by squeezing out smaller parties, there has been little direct incentive to change it. However, the indirect and long-term effects of reducing the threshold to a more reasonable level should be obvious. Turkey, like any nation, stands to benefit from any effort towards democratization and a lower threshold could help resolve many of the political issues in the country that still stand, and especially one of the thorniest of them all: the Kurdish issue.