AKP may have to cancel early local election plan
ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
The amendment to hold elections exactly a year from now, on Oct 27, 2013, was seven votes shy of the required 367 votes needed for the two-thirds majority. AA photoIt may be too late to enact the Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) proposal for a constitutional amendment to hold local elections early, after it fell short of the two-thirds majority needed Oct. 12.
The amendment to hold elections exactly a year from now, on Oct. 27, 2013, was seven votes shy of the required 367 votes needed for the two-thirds majority that would not have required a referendum, and the president sent it back to Parliament for a second debate. The situation has paved the way for bargaining between the ruling party and the opposition parties to set a new date.
However, particularly after main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu’s remarks indicating that they have no intention of making life easier for the AKP, the governing party may have to get used to the idea of holding local elections on March 29, 2014, the original date.
Although AKP executives will hold new talks with both CHP and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) executives following Eid al-Adha, for either another proposal to hold elections on Oct. 27, 2013, or a new proposal setting a new date in November 2013, efforts may eventually prove futile if no surprise breakthrough comes out of these talks.
A sign of such probable futility was given in a recent message from Kılıçdaroğlu. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan wants to hold early local elections because of his personal calculations concerning the presidential elections in 2014, Kılıçdaroğlu said in a recent interview. “We will not offer a new date, and we will not support the ruling party’s proposal either,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.
The CHP’s support is crucial due to speculation that focuses on the possibility of either AKP or MHP deputies voting against the amendment, as the figure 360 was eight short of the total combined number of deputies of the AKP and MHP who were present at the assembly during the voting on Oct. 12. Since it has been seen as a leadership failure, Erdoğan doesn’t want a repeat performance during the next vote.
The MHP, meanwhile, seems insistent on holding the elections on Oct. 27, 2013, mainly due to its objection to a draft law on metropolitan municipalities which it says aims at bringing a federal system to Turkey. The law, which is said to create more AKP municipalities in local elections, has not yet been adopted. Article 67 of the Constitution states that amendments to electoral laws cannot be enacted for one year. As of today, even if the AKP and MHP agree on Oct. 27, 2013 and make it through Parliament, it will not be possible to implement the law for early local elections.
“Following Eid [al-Adha], we will do a last meeting with political parties on the amendment regarding bringing forward the local elections. Accordingly, we make our position clear. If reconciliation is not provided, there is nothing to do,” AKP deputy parliamentary group chair Ayşenur Bahçekapılı said.