18-year- MPs in limbo due to CHP’s hesitation
ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
‘If the CHP also gives it a negative response then we will not introduce our proposal to Parliament. The number of our deputies is not enough for this [the adoption of the proposal],’ says AKP’s deputy parliamentary group chair Mustafa Elitaş. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZThe hesitation on the part of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) has left the future of a Justice and Development Party (AKP) proposal to lower the required age of Parliament candidates from 25 to 18 in limbo.
Previously the CHP had said they would support the AKP’s proposal, but when push came to shove the main opposition party was unable to come to a final decision on the matter. “The [National Movement Party] MHP officially responded negatively to our proposal. If the CHP also gives it a negative response then we will not introduce our proposal to Parliament. At least 330 votes are necessary for the adoption of the proposal and the number of our deputies is not enough for this,” Mustafa Elitaş, the AKP’s deputy parliamentary group chair, told the Hürriyet Daily News yesterday.
Objection inside CHP
The issue of dropping the age of candidates running for Parliament was brought up by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan Oct. 5 and raised quite a few eyebrows among opposition parties. Earlier this week, CHP deputy parliamentary group chair Akif Hamzeçebi told a visiting AKP delegation the CHP were in favor of the proposal, yet yesterday the party registered split views on the issue.
Some CHP deputies, including the party’s spokesperson Haluk Koç and another deputy parliamentary chair Muharrem İnce, openly expressed firm objection to the proposal, Hürriyet Daily News learned. A group of CHP deputies against the proposal argued that “the CHP should not be a supporter of the AKP’s populist policies,” while another group worried that rejecting such a proposal would mean losing young voters.
Earlier this week, the AKP said the proposal would also abolish the requirement that military service be completed before running for office.
The CHP administration has, meanwhile, assigned a group of deputies who work in the legal field to work on this issue. The CHP may come up with a counter proposal that outlines lowering the required age of Parliament candidates to 21 rather than 18. CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu will make the last call on whether the party will support the idea of 18-year-old lawmakers or a proposal on 21-year-old lawmakers.
But the CHP does not necessarily have to support the AKP’s proposal, Nurettin Canikli, another deputy chair of the AKP’s parliamentary group, told the Daily News. If the CHP embraces the idea of lowering the required age to 18, then the AKP and the CHP may separately introduce their proposals on the same issue and with the same content, Canikli offered, while noting that they expect to receive CHP’s final response today.