Gov't-led charter changes bring constitutional dictatorship: CHP
ANKARAThe Republican People’s Party (CHP) will not permit the imposition of an executive presidential system as it will lead to a “constitutional dictatorship,” party leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has said, hours before a motion to that effect was set to be introduced to a parliamentary panel.
“We will not allow it to happen,” Kılıçdaroğlu told his party on Dec. 20 after listing seven possible outcomes of the amendment, which was submitted to a panel on Dec. 10.
“If it is enacted, we will create a dictatorship by the constitution. We will create a dictator who touches everything and cannot be touched,” he said.
He cited other possible outcomes as follows:
“Second, Turkey will be pulled away from a democratic regime and will be directed toward an authoritarian regime. Third, no citizen will have security of property, life or law; everything will be delivered into the hands of a dictator. Fourth, there will be no power to supervise the administration; tyranny will prevail. Fifth, a person will become a government, a parliament, and a court; the legislative, executive and jurisdiction will be convened in one hand. Sixth, an unauthorized, incapable and symbolic parliament will emerge. Seventh, we will bury parliament in a grave and consign democracy to history.”
Kılıçdaroğlu’s comments came the same day as the parliamentary commission was set to start debating the constitutional amendment. He said he advised his party members in the commission to oppose each statement but not convey any advisory motion.
“We said [to our lawmakers] not to submit any motion [to the commission debate]. We said that each motion would legitimize [the constitutional proposal]. Say anything to make a note in history,” he said.
Reiterating his party’s previous criticisms of the constitutional amendment, Kılıçdaroğlu underlined the significant articles that would particularly consolidate authoritarian power, according to the CHP.
“He says he will be the leader of the party, not the public. You can just be a dictator, nothing else,” he said, referring to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in criticizing the article which states that the president can restore links to his political party and be the leader of a party.
Kılıçdaroğlu also said the presidential authority to name five of the 12 members of the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors would critically compromise the impartiality of the judicial system, noting that most of the members of the board would be selected by him and the parliament in which the president’s party group would likely hold a majority of the seats.
“Even Atatürk, the founder of the Turkey, did not hold the authority to annul the Grand National Assembly by himself,” Kılıçdaroğlu said, referring to the regulation granting power to the president to abolish the government.
“We forgot history, and we are granting a dictator a power to abolish the Grand National Assembly. We will not grant it,” he said.
Kılıçdaroğlu also criticized the authority given to the president to issue decree laws and appoint ministers and public officials.
“He will issue decrees, rearrange public institutions, appoint undersecretaries and decide how to appoint public officers, ambassadors and district governors. Who has been doing that since today? Parliament. Now? A dictator,” he added.
“[The president] can form regional governments consisting of several city territories,” he said, underlining the party’s previous criticism of the constitutional amendment for paving the way for the formation of a federal system.
“[This is] just a word of advice to Devlet Bahçeli [the leader of the Nationalist Movement Party, MHP],” he said. The amendment proposed to the committee was a result of the joint efforts of the MHP and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
The committee officially has 45 days to debate and issue a report to parliament. Subsequently, the assembly will gather to discuss the amendment proposal in two gatherings. In the first, each article will be evaluated and in the second gathering, the debated articles and the entire bill will got to a vote.
If the motion receives between 330 and 367 votes in the 550-seat parliament, the bill will go to a referendum – a likely scenario since the AKP holds 316 seats and the MHP 39 while the CHP and Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), the other parties in parliament, are dead-set against the proposal.