CHP, HDP boycott parliamentary commission to overhaul judges

CHP, HDP boycott parliamentary commission to overhaul judges

CHP, HDP boycott parliamentary commission to overhaul judges

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Two opposition parties that campaigned against the constitutional amendment approved in last month’s referendum have boycotted the parliamentary meeting to assess judges for the Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSK), the configuration of which was altered by the amendment.

The joint commission, composed of members of the Parliamentary Constitution and Justice Commission, had convened on May 10 to make assessments about 83 candidates for the HSK. 

However, commission members from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Kurdish issue-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) walked out of the meeting in protest.

The constitutional amendment reduced the number of HSK members from 21 to 13, with seven of the members elected by parliament, four appointed by the president, one being the justice minister as the head of the board, and one being the undersecretary as the permanent member. 

The CHP and the HDP argue that the amended configuration will lead to an even more politically influenced judiciary in Turkey.

“The independence of the judiciary is an assurance of individual independence. But we see that instead of an independent judiciary, there is a subordinated judiciary,” CHP Deputy Chair Bülent Tezcan said on May 10.

“Looking at the references of the candidates, some have references from AKP provincial heads or managers,” Tezcan added, reiterating the party’s earlier criticism of the newly elected judges, most of whom the CHP says are directly affiliated with the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). 

Rejecting the referendum results as illegitimate amid lingering fraud claims, the CHP had earlier announced that it will not participate in parliamentary processes for harmonization of the existing legislature to the amended constitution, as well as the attainment process of the HSK members.

The HDP also declared that it will not recognize the referendum results, stating that there were voting irregularities and the voting process was not legitimate, while voicing its concerns over the politicization of the judiciary.

HDP spokesperson Osman Baydemir had vowed on May 8 that “the HDP will not participate any process that would mean legitimizing the constitutional amendment.”

The join commission is due to assess 83 candidates and reduce the number to 21. The commission will then refer the 21 names to parliament’s General Assembly for a vote to determine the seven members who will become judges of the HSK elected by parliament.

The CHP and the HDP have also said they will not participate in the voting process at parliament.