CHP leader rules out possibility of referendum on presidential system

CHP leader rules out possibility of referendum on presidential system

CHP leader rules out possibility of referendum on presidential system

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The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) will not be able to win enough votes in parliament to go to a potential referendum regarding a switch to a presidential system or a partisan president, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has said.

“I don’t think it will pass. Yesterday, [Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet] Bahçeli made a statement; he had previously stated that he was against the [system of] the presidency, now he said he was against the partisan president model. A similar statement has also come from the HDP [Peoples’ Democratic Party]. We have already declared that we were against it. Therefore, I don’t think they have a chance to see 330 [votes],” Kılıçdaroğlu said during an interview on news channel NTV on May 25.  

Kılıçdaroğlu also dismissed suggestions that such a referendum would attract popular support. “The operation staged against [former Prime Minister Ahmet] Davutoğlu has created serious discontent in the [Justice and Development Party] AKP base and its conscience. [Davutoğlu] was elected with 49 percent of the votes. He said he was leading a successful premiership, working to give sincere messages to all sides. But he was thrown out of office for reasons outside of his control and against his will. This has created serious discontent among the [AKP] base,” the CHP leader said, adding that even in a case of referendum, AKP would not find “the expected response from that base.”

Kılıçdaroğlu said his party was ready for any snap election if the government opts for such a move, vowing it is “ready for all circumstances.”

“If the government wants, it can call for an early election. We are ready for all circumstances,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.

The CHP also denied allegations that he had intervened against his party’s deputies to prevent them from voting against a controversial legal amendment lifting the immunities of some MPs – a move largely targeting the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party’s (HDP). 

“I did not intervene ... Our deputy friends acted totally with their own common sense,” he said.

CHP lawmakers were divided over whether or not to support the amendment that passed comfortably on May 20 and thus paved the way for the prosecution of a total of 139 lawmakers, who have over 500 cases pending against them. While 20 CHP lawmakers are thought to have voted in favor of the amendment in the second round of voting, the remainder objected to the amendment, leading to speculation that they would support the HDP’s petition campaign to take the amendment to the Constitutional Court.  

Kılıçdaroğlu said he did not think it was right for the HDP to go to the top court. 

“A deputy whose immunity has been lifted can appeal to the Constitutional Court individually within one week. The Constitutional Court gives its decision within 15 days. So when there is such an option, why are we choosing a path that would take longer?” he added.

The CHP head himself faces possible prosecution following the passing of the amendment, but he told NTV that he “feels no need” to appeal to the Constitutional Court yet.