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Turkey's parliament debates changes to electoral laws

Turkey's parliament has begun debating changes to the country's electoral laws that critics say are designed to help President Recep Tayyip Erdogan consolidate power and could lead to election fraud. The debate has opened before crucial elections next year, when Erdogan will need to secure 51 percent of the vote to remain at the helm, in a new system that expands the president's powers.
By The News · 12 of March 2018 15:43:06
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, gestures as he delivers a speech during a rally of his ruling Justice and Development (AKP) Party's supporters, in Mersin, southern Turkey, Saturday, March 10, 2018. Erdogan has criticised NATO for not supporting the country's ongoing military operation against the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units or YPG, that started Jan. 20, to clear them from Afrin in northwestern Syria. Erdogan asked, "Hey NATO, where are you?" and accused the alliance of double standards.(Kayhan Ozer/Pool Photo via AP), No available, Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, gestures as he delivers a speech during a rally of his ruling Justice and Development (AKP) Party's supporters, in Mersin, southern Turkey, Saturday, March 10, 2018. Erdogan has criticised NATO for not supporting the country's ongoing military operation against the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units or YPG, that started Jan. 20, to clear them from Afrin in northwestern Syria. Erdogan asked, "Hey NATO, where are you?" and accused the alliance of double standards.(Kayhan Ozer/Pool Photo via AP)

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey’s parliament has begun debating changes to Turkey’s electoral laws that critics say are designed to help President Recep Tayyip Erdogan consolidate power and could lead to election fraud.

The debate opened Monday before crucial elections next year, when Erdogan will need to secure 51 percent of the vote to remain at the helm, in a new system that expands the president’s powers.

The changes would allow Erdogan’s ruling party to enter a formal alliance with the nationalist party, permitting the smaller party to grab parliamentary seats even if it fails to pass the 10-percent electoral threshold. In turn, Erdogan would secure the nationalists’ continued support.

The opposition says other amendments, including the right to count ballot papers lacking official stamps, will lead to fraud.