AKP and MHP leaders to meet for charter revisions

AKP and MHP leaders to meet for charter revisions

AKP and MHP leaders to meet for charter revisions

AFP photo

Ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader and Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım is set to meet Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli to discuss anticipated revisions to a charter amendment that will usher in an executive presidency.

The meeting is slated to take place at 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 26.

The leaders are expected to iron out problems with a regulation calling for substitute parliamentarians, according to which the number of substitute deputies to be determined by each party will be 20 percent of the number of deputies determined for a province.

The meeting came after AKP lawmakers raised questions about the charter, arguing that the system foreseen by the amendment had no check and balance system, diminishes the power of parliament and threatens the AKP’s legislative power.

Yıldırım confirmed on Dec. 22 that AKP lawmakers had concerns about the articles which regulate substitute parliamentarians, arguing that the amendment could cause serious altercations and even result in killings.

“Some of our friends have confusions about a few points. The articles will be fixed; we will work on it,” Yıldırım said Dec. 22, adding that the AKP would seek the approval of the MHP group since the proposal was brought to parliament as a result of the joint efforts of the two parties.

The AKP is set to remove the statements “death” and “substitute” from the article, Reuters reported on Dec. 22, while Mustafa Şentop, the chair of the parliament’s constitution committee, indicated a possible amendment as follows:

“In the event, there is a vacancy in parliament due to dismissal, the vacancy will be filled by lawmakers from the same party even if the parliamentarian has shifted his/her parties during the time when the vacancy emerged.”

Panel continues with brawl

The parliamentary constitution committee resumed on Dec. 26 after a one-day break while verbal altercations between AKP and CHP members and slogans maintained the high tension at the panel.

Şentop commenced the meeting by setting the agenda for a discussion on the items of the charter, a decision which prompted a brawl with members of the CHP.

AKP members submitted a proposal declaring that a sufficient amount of negotiation had occurred so as to accelerate the process by ending discussion on the entirety of the charter and moving on to a discussion of the individual items. CHP lawmakers protested the decision, saying they were unable to express their views on the entirety of the bill and that the chair’s decision was unlawful. 

On its seventh day of the discussions, CHP members again opposed the chair’s decision, arguing that moving to vote on the proposal was the act of “pirates.”

“It is a regime change; we will discuss it forever if necessary,” CHP Bursa lawmaker Nurhayat Altaca said.

Following the verbal altercation and raised slogans in the panel about the procedure, the chair gathered the group deputy chairpersons to ease the tension and find a way to continue work on the panel.

The panel will continue to discuss the charter for two more weeks, while the charter is expected to be submitted to the parliament at the end of the January 2017.