AKP begins constitution change talks with MHP, re-invites CHP

AKP begins constitution change talks with MHP, re-invites CHP

AKP begins constitution change talks with MHP, re-invites CHP

AA photo

Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım held a meeting with Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli to offer two constitutional drafts on changing Turkey to an executive presidential system, also inviting the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) to participate in talks despite differing opinions.

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) began the dual meetings on constitutional drafts, including the presidential system change on Nov. 10. 

The meeting was scheduled in the Prime Ministry’s Çankaya Palace, after Yıldırım announced the beginning of constitution talks on Nov. 9. One of the offers included a whole new constitution based on the presidential system and the other is an amended version of the existing constitution to make it more compatible with an executive presidential system.  

“Both alternatives are on the table. We need 330 affirmative votes to bring the constitutional amendment to the public vote. For AKP, it is not possible for us to achieve that by ourselves. In this manner, MHP’s support is needed. We have initiated our work grounding on this,” Yıldırım told reporters on Nov. 9.

The AKP’s long-awaited wish to pass a constitutional change gained momentum after MHP head Bahçeli proposed bringing the issue to a public vote on Oct. 11. Even though his proposal was interpreted as covert support for the voting process in parliament, Bahçeli also stressed that the MHP would decide on its stance after evaluating the AKP’s draft.

With 316 seats in parliament, the AKP is at least 14 votes short of introducing a constitutional amendment, as any charter change requires the support of at least 330 votes in order to take it to a referendum.

 Even though the AKP-MHP meeting seems crucial for the parliamentary vote, Yıldırım also called for the CHP, which remains opposed to the system change, to participate in the preparation of the new charter.

“The CHP has a negative attitude. But we think there is still time. We repeat our call to the CHP. Our door is open,” he said on Nov. 9.

The CHP’s spokeswoman Selin Sayek Böke dismissed the call.Speaking to reporters after her party’s executive board meeting, Böke stressed that the party would only support a change to make the country “more democratic and free.”