A draft bylaw debated at the Constitutional Commission of the parliament has stirred a debate between the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the opposition, the Republican People’s Party (CHP), saying that the proposal will turn deputyship into an idle post.
Criticizing the draft items that limit speech durations and offer fines for rostrum speeches, “Then you’d better exile us from here if you are going to cut these rights,” said Engin Altay, a deputy chair of the CHP’s parliament group.
The AKP should shake hands with the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) for a regulation that says “other parties cannot enter parliament until the next elections,” Altay suggested ironically.
“If you say ‘I am the majority and I can do anything,’ then we should close down the parliament. Let’s go for an election and produce the laws in the headquarters of the party that achieves the majority of the votes. This is the battiness of the majority,” he said.
The commission also handled a regulation for the rights of elected deputies who do not take official oaths, which is known as the “Zana article” in reference to Leyla Zana, a deputy from the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) ranks.
“Lawmakers who do not take the oath or restrain from taking the oath will not benefit from rights granted to the lawmakers,” suggests the AKP-MHP proposal.
Zana took the oath when she was elected in 1991 but finished her words in Kurdish, stirring a big debate at the time. Three years later she was arrested for 10 years.
She became an MP once again after the June 2011 elections, although a ban remained in place preventing her from joining a political party, the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP).
In October 2015 she took the oath after being elected from the HDP but the parliament speaker said the oath was not valid since she did not read out the original text in the constitution.
Zana said on July 10 that she would not read the text again.
During the recent debate at the commission, the representatives of the CHP
and the HDP said only a parliamentary vote could decide on weather a lawmaker restrains from taking the oath or not, not the parliament speaker.
HDP Adana Deputy Meral Daniş Beştaş said the proposed item is not legitimate.