Is CHP head Kılıçdaroğlu waiting for early elections?

Is CHP head Kılıçdaroğlu waiting for early elections?

Budgeting is important in democracies. At the end of every year, executive bodies should prepare the next year’s budget and present it for inspection.

Parliaments do the inspection on behalf of its citizens.

First the Planning and Budget Commission and later the parliament’s general assembly discuss the budgets prepared by the ministries. After getting the parliament’s approval, where and how the government’s resources will be spent becomes clearer.

Commission meetings of the 2018 budget were held in November.

The parliament also started the general assembly process. On Dec. 11, I was in parliament together with many of my colleagues to watch the budget meetings.

First of all, I must say it was one of the dullest general assembly budget meetings I have ever watched.

Kılıçdaroğlu spared only 20 minutes of his one-hour-long speech speaking about the economy, not mentioning the details of the 2018 budget.

He then spoke about the Reza Zarrab trial in the United States, his claims that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s close circle made transactions worth around $15 million to an off-shore company in Isle of Man between December 2011 and January 2012, Palestine, foreign policy issues and Istanbul’s Ataşehir Municipality, which recently saw its mayor, Battal İlgezdi, get suspended by the Interior Ministry on Dec. 8 over corruption allegations.

Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli did not even feel the need to talk about the 2018 budget prepared by the government.

Instead of him, MHP Deputy Group Chair Erhan Usta spoke.

Usta’s speech was well-prepared content-wise, it was informative, but he spoke in a technical language only economy experts can understand.

Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım spoke after representatives of opposition parties. Instead of talking about the budget, he preferred to respond to the opposition’s criticisms on current issues.

Something that drew my attention was the atmosphere in parliament. There were only four AKP deputies present when Kılıçdaroğlu started talking.

Most of them were outside since Yıldırım was not present.

Shortly after Kılıçdaroğlu started his speech, Yıldırım came quickly from the back room to the general assembly.

As soon as he came, the number of AKP deputies in the hall increased to around 40 and the ministers took their positions in the council.

Kılıçdaroğlu started his speech with the recent U.S. move to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

“It is a pride to defend Palestine,” he said – an issue agreed by all parties in parliament.

But even on this issue, the parliament was polarized, as AKP deputies in the hall pretended not to hear his comments on Palestine, in order not to applaud him.

During the break, we found the opportunity to talk with Kılıçdaroğlu.

He said he intentionally spared most of his speech to the current political developments.

Kılıçdaroğlu stated that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s speeches about Jerusalem were directed toward internal politics, instead of finding a solution to the problem.

When I asked Kılıçdaroğlu if he was expecting an “early election,” he said “maybe.”

“There are speculations that the economy will worsen in 2018. They might want to go to elections before the economic situation deteriorates,” he added.

The first day of the budget meetings was supposed to be an “exceptional day” in parliament. But it was an ordinary day.

Citizens, as always, listened to politicians debate on issues instead of being informed on where and how their taxes would be spent in 2018.

Deniz Zeyrek, hdn, opinion