Top Turkey court rules against lowering electoral threshold

 Turkey`s constitutional court on Tuesday ruled against lowering the 10-percent election threshold for political parties to enter Parliament, media said.

AFP| Last Updated: Jan 07, 2015, 00:44 AM IST

Istanbul: Turkey`s constitutional court on Tuesday ruled against lowering the 10-percent election threshold for political parties to enter Parliament, media said.

The move could help President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to centralise powers in a powerful presidency, which until he took office in August was largely a ceremonial role in Turkey.

Fourteen members of the court voted against decreasing the threshold while two members voted in favour, Anatolia news agency reported.

The court ruled it was not "competent to change the threshold," it added. 

Turkey is set to hold legislative elections in June, with the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) co-founded by Erdogan aiming for a thumping majority to change the constitution and boost the president`s powers.

Under the current system, in use since 1983, a party must garner at least 10 percent of the nationwide votes cast by nearly 76 million eligible voters to enter the 550-seat parliament. 

The vote of parties which fail to pass the threshold are re-distributed proportionally, which means the AKP would be the prime beneficiary. 

The decision has dealt a blow to Turkey`s main pro-Kurdish party People`s Democratic Party (HDP), whose support level is just below the threshold. The party has long fielded its candidates as independents to go round the barrier.