AKP gives up holding local elections earlier

AKP gives up holding local elections earlier

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
AKP gives up holding local elections earlier

The prospects for holding snap local elections appear slim as PM Erdoğan refers to the date of polls as 2014 during a two-day working camp of his ruling party. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZ

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has given up the plans of holding local elections earlier and the vote is expected to be held in March 2014 as scheduled.

The idea not to spend any more efforts on the subject gained currency during a two-day working camp of the AKP over the weekend, with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan explicitly referring to the date of local elections as 2014.

Underlining that the party’s full support was behind a draft law on restructuring municipalities, which is expected to be debated in Parliament later this week, Erdoğan said the adoption of the bill was more important than bringing local elections forward, and told deputies that he wanted the bill to be adopted with a full vote from AKP deputies.

“We have a very sensitive and important three years ahead of us. The local elections and the presidential elections in 2014 and the parliamentary elections in 2015 have great importance for our country, not only for us,” Erdoğan said on Nov. 3 in his opening remarks at the meeting, which was held in the Kızılcahamam district of the capital Ankara.

The amendment to hold elections exactly a year from now, on Oct. 27, 2013, fell seven votes shy of the required 367 votes needed for the two-thirds majority that would not have required a referendum to go into force.

President Abdullah Gül thus sent it back to Parliament for a second debate, a situation that paved the way for bargaining between the ruling party and the opposition parties over the setting of a new date.

Constitutional changes

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has indicated that he is ready to settle with two-year old constitutional amendments instead of drafting a new constitution from the scratch. Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Ali Şahin briefed deputies concerning the ongoing efforts for drafting of a new constitution on Nov.3 at a closed-door session as part of the ruling AKP annual gathering.

After the briefing, Prime Minister Erdoğan reiterated that he has lost hope in drafting of a new charter with full support from all four political parties represented at the Parliament.

“It doesn’t mean the end of the world. We had earlier made 26-article amendments. We will survive with those 26 articles,” Erdoğan was quoted as saying after the briefing.

Prime Minister Erdoğan was referring to a 26-article constitutional amendment package which was voted in a referendum on Sept. 12, 2010, and received the support of 58 percent of the Turkish people.