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Archive for the ‘Electoral system’ Category

Turkey’s opaque system of political financing

In Constitution, Democratisation, Electoral system, Turkey on December 20, 2010 at 2:23 am

In my most recent post I highlighted the seeming over-reliance of Turkey’s political parties on state funding. But what of the role of private funding in Turkish politics? When we think about the corruption of the political process, it is usually Read the rest of this entry »


State funding for Turkey’s political parties

In Constitution, Democratisation, Electoral system, Turkey on December 16, 2010 at 4:18 pm

This is the first of two posts on political financing in Turkey. In the second, I’ll look at a range of problems relating to the way in which private donations are regulated. First, however, I want to outline the workings of the system that provides (some) Turkish parties with significant sums of public money.

According to Article 69 of Turkey’s constitution, “the state shall provide the political parties with adequate financial means in an equitable manner.” (“Siyasi partilere, Devlet, yeterli düzeyde ve hakça mali yardım yapar.”) The key piece of legislation that fleshes out this principle is the Law on Political Parties (2820), which, unfortunately, compounds democratic deficiencies Read the rest of this entry »

Eight ways to assess the quality of Turkish democracy

In Constitution, Democratisation, Electoral system, Kurdish question, Media, Society, Turkey, Uncategorized, Women in Turkey on November 1, 2010 at 8:29 am

What makes for a high-quality democracy? If we could answer this question satisfactorily, we would be well placed to deal systematically with some of the perennial questions of Turkish politics (what are the country’s democratic shortcomings? which reforms should it prioritise?), and to assess the various proposals for constitutional reform that will be forthcoming in the months and years ahead. Fortunately for us, there’s a growing amount of work being done in this area.

In 2003, Larry Diamond and Leonardo Morlino brought together a group of democratisation experts for a research project on the quality of democracy. The project’s aim was to identify the characteristics that distinguish high-quality from low-quality democracies. In the book that resulted from their project, Assessing the Quality of Democracy, Diamond and Morlino identify eight different dimensions on which democracies vary in quality. In this post, I’ll provide an outline Read the rest of this entry »

The trouble with Turkey’s closed-list elections

In Electoral system, Turkey on October 17, 2010 at 11:04 am

There are problems at every stage of Turkey’s electoral process. As I highlighted in my most recent post, parliament’s 550 seats are badly misallocated among the country’s 81 provinces. Next, the processes used to translate individual votes into seats for parties are deeply skewed. The 10 per cent threshold that parties need to clear before they can enter parliament deservedly gets the most attention, but it’s not the only issue here. Once the threshold has been passed, the d’Hondt method is used to distribute seats among the remaining parties. Of the many variants of proportional representation, d’Hondt is the least proportional, systematically favouring larger parties.*

We reach a further set of problems when it comes to filling the seats that have been allocated to the various parties. Turkey uses a closed-list proportional representation system. This means that voters vote for the party of their choice, but there is no mechanism for them to express a preference for one or more of the party’s individual candidates. Instead, a list of candidates for each province is drawn up by the party leadership and any seats won in that province are automatically assigned to Read the rest of this entry »

How badly misallocated are Turkey’s parliamentary seats?

In Electoral system, Turkey on October 14, 2010 at 1:21 am

The skewed allocation of Turkey’s parliamentary seats was highlighted recently in a comment to a post I had written about the prospects for the proposed new constitution. The specific example given was the mismatch between Bayburt (with a voter-to-seat ratio of 26,700:1 in the 2007 elections) and Istanbul’s first district (where the equivalent ratio was 111,700:1).

To try to flesh this out a bit, I’ve put together the table below, which lists each of Turkey’s provinces. What I’ve done is to calculate a proportional allocation of parliament’s 550 seats to all 81 provinces, so that we can compare it to the actual allocation used in the 2007 general election. For any electoral geeks reading, I’ve used the Sainte-Laguë method, drawing on a recent report on electoral systems by Simon Hix for the British Academy.

The key columns to look at are the ‘SL’ and ‘2007’ ones, which illustrate, respectively, the Sainte-Laguë proportional allocation and the allocation that was actually used at the last election. But before getting Read the rest of this entry »