AKP, CHP close to a deal on lifting immunities

AKP, CHP close to a deal on lifting immunities

AKP, CHP close to a deal on lifting immunities

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The ruling and main opposition parties are close to an agreement for a provisional change in the constitution that would allow parliament to lift the immunities of Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) lawmakers and others for one time only. 

“The proposal of the CHP [Republican People’s Party] is close to ours. I think there is room for negotiation,” Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputy group leader Naci Bostancı said.

The AKP proposed a provisional change to Article 83 of the constitution for a blanket removal of lawmakers whose summaries of proceedings have been transferred to the Parliament Speaker’s Office by the Prime Ministry. A good majority of the 522 pending cases in parliament concern lawmakers of the HDP, which is focused on the Kurdish issue, followed by the CHP.

HDP co-leaders Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ, as well as CHP chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, are among the lawmakers subject to a summary of proceedings.

The CHP responded to the AKP’s proposal on March 23 by introducing three options that included a restricted version of parliamentary immunity which was rejected by the AKP on the grounds that it would weaken politicians. 

The CHP’s third option suggests the inclusion of cases of other lawmakers who are believed to have committed a crime but relevant summaries of proceedings have not yet reached parliament. 

“We believe our proposal is much fairer. Let’s say two deputies committed similar crimes but a summary of proceeding on one of them has been brought to parliament while the other’s is still pending. Therefore we want to include cases about lawmakers in this motion,” Altay said. 
The AKP, with 317 seats in parliament, needs the support of another party to change the constitution. The Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) is not cold to the AKP’s proposal but underlines that the priority should be given to terror-related cases.