AKP rolls president’s mandate ball to speaker
After President Gül was elected in 2007 to a seven-year presidency by the lawmakers, a constitutional amendment proposed and approved by the AKP reduced the mandate of the president to five years with a chance to be re-elected through popular vote. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZThe Parliament speaker must initiate a constitutional amendment to end uncertainty over the length of President Abdullah Gül’s term in office, a senior ruling party official said yesterday.
“It is the speaker of Parliament who has to start the [presidential election] process. This cannot be started by a decision or a move of a political party,” Nurettin Canikli, Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputy parliamentary group leader, told reporters yesterday. The initiative Canikli mentioned requires a consensus among the political parties on Gül’s case, which could be reflected in the constitution through a provisional amendment.
A detailed draft on presidential term
Canikli said a draft law detailing the presidential election process will be submitted to Parliament in coming weeks but his party was not planning to include a provisional article.
After Gül was elected to a seven-year presidency, a constitutional amendment reduced the mandate of the president to five years with a chance to be re-elected through popular vote.
Canikli called on parties for a consensus on the length of the president’s term and said, “The uncertainty could only be removed through a provisional article to the constitution. We have no means to do it on our own. It could be done with the support of other parties.” The AKP official said
they had no contact with other parties on the issue.
A clause stating the presidential elections will take place in 2014 is seen by some as enough to end discussions on the matter, but the debate continues given the opposition parties’ differing views.
“I will send a petition to the prime minister to ask when the presidential elections will take place,” Gürsel Tekin, vice president of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), told reporters yesterday. “I hope the prime minister and speaker of Parliament will respond.”
“It’s a shame no one knows how long the head of the country ought to serve. We have officially asked the president but he said he did not know,” Tekin said.