Commission passes new municipality bill

Commission passes new municipality bill

Commission passes new municipality bill

Southeastern province of Şanlıurfa is among the new 13 municipalities. DHA photo

Parliament’s Internal Affairs Commission has passed the government-backed draft bill late on Oct. 21 allowing the establishment of 13 new greater metropolitan municipalities in addition to the current 16 and redrawing the boundaries of them.

The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) have both harshly criticized the bill and signaled that they will endeavor to block the debates at Parliament’s General Assembly in a bid to delay the adoption of the bill.

According to the draft bill, new districts will be formed in metropolitan municipalities and 52 non-metropolitan cities. 1,582 towns with populations of less than 2,000 will cease to exist as separate legal entities, while 18,200 villages will be turned into districts.

Under the planned changes, cities where the population exceeds 750,000 people will gain the status of “metropolitan municipality.” In addition, the boundaries of metropolitan municipalities will extend to the whole province, enabling voters in rural areas, where the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has traditionally been stronger, to vote in elections for the metropolitan mayor and administration.

Ten of the current 16 metropolitan municipalities are governed by mayors elected from the AKP, while the CHP holds 4, the MHP 1 and the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) 1 metropolitan municipality.