‘60 articles’ plan at dead end after main opposition CHP objection

‘60 articles’ plan at dead end after main opposition CHP objection

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
‘60 articles’ plan at dead end after main opposition CHP objection

AKP’s Nurettin Canikli (L) shakes hands with main opposition CHP’s Akif Hamzaçebi before the new charter talks. AA photo

The parliamentary adoption of 60 articles on which the four parties in the Constitution Conciliation Commission have agreed seems to have been shelved after the main opposition Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) rejected the proposal.

CHP deputy chair Akif Hamzaçebi indicated after meeting with a ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) delegation yesterday that they did not agree with the ruling party’s suggestion to bring the 60 articles to Parliament for approval.

“We don’t have any intention to legislate the 60 articles solely with the AKP,” Hamzaçebi said, adding that a four-party consensus should be sought for such a move.

“Seeking a four-party consensus means terminating these works because we know the Nationalist Movement Party’s [MHP] opposition toward this issue. It seems that there’s no possibility for the moment to pass these 60 articles in Parliament,” AKP deputy parliamentary group chair Nurettin Canikli told reporters.

Erdoğan last month called on the opposition parties to adopt the 60 articles in Parliament, saying such a move would accelerate the deadlocked charter-making process. Challenging Erdoğan, CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said they were ready for the adoption of the 60 articles. But the MHP has opposed such a move, claiming that the new Constitution should be legislated as a whole as planned when the charter panel was formed two years ago.

The deputy parliamentary chairpersons of the AKP and CHP met last week, and the CHP suggested adding a provisionary article to the package that would secure the release of seven jailed lawmakers, although they did not insert it as a precondition. The AKP officials told the CHP that such an article could be included in the package only if a full consensus among all four political parties represented in Parliament was maintained. However, such a consensus is less likely due to MHP opposition toward the issue.

During the CHP’s Central Executive Board meeting on Nov. 6, some CHP deputies reportedly voiced their concern that a two-party agreement on the charter would lead to a split within Parliament’s Constitution Conciliation Commission. The CHP administration eventually decided that the four parties’ consensus should be sought to pass the 60 articles in Parliament.

During yesterday’s meeting, the CHP deputies told the AKP lawmakers that a consensus of the four parties was a must for them to adopt the 60 articles, sources told the Hürriyet Daily News.

“How can we seek consensus while the MHP’s doors are closed? There’s no sign that they would sing a different tune,” Canikli reportedly said in response.

“The [Parliament’s Constitution Conciliation] Commission should maintain its works. If the number of articles that four parties agree on increases, then the MHP may be convinced,” Hamzaçebi said.

Speaking to reporters following the meeting, Canikli voiced his pessimism for the charter drafting process.

“The commission is having difficulties reaching a consensus on new articles. I don’t think there will be a [further] consensus anymore,” Canikli said. “It seems these works are over.”

When asked whether they would ask Parliamentary Speaker Cemil Çiçek, who is leading the charter-drafting efforts, to dissolve the joint charter panel, Canikli said: “We will not demand dissolution of the Constitution Conciliation Commission. But it’s up to the parliamentary speaker.”

The AKP could submit its own Constitution draft to Parliament “to show its determination for the new Constitution,” Canikli said.