‘Draft bill should fix Gül’s term in office’
Uncertainty over the length of Abdullah Gül’s term as president should be resolved in a draft bill, says Parliamentary Speaker Cemil Çiçek. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZ
Lingering uncertainty over the length of Abdullah Gül’s term as president should be resolved in a draft bill on presidential elections that has been submitted to the legislature, Parliamentary Speaker Cemil Çiçek said yesterday.
“If Parliament fails to do that, the decision will be made by the Supreme Electoral Board [YSK]. The right thing to do is to give the date [of the next presidential election] in this bill,” Çiçek told the private A Haber television channel.
Turkey’s next head of state will be elected by a popular vote for the first time under constitutional amendments passed in 2007.
The bill, submitted in the previous legislative year, should also clarify procedural rules concerning the presidential election, such as where candidates would file their applications, whether they would receive financial aid from the Treasury for their campaigns and how objections would be lodged against candidates, Çiçek said.
The speaker would not say when the draft revision could be addressed. “They can hold the meeting next week if they want,” he said, referring to the parliamentary commission whose approval is needed before the bill goes to a vote at the General Assembly.
Parliament elected Gül for a single seven-year term on Aug. 28, 2007. Two months later, constitutional amendments introducing a popular vote to elect the president for a five-year, once renewable term, were approved by referendum. The question remains whether the amendments will be considered retroactive to affect Gül’s mandate.
Responding to an by an opposition deputy, the YSK said last month that it was unable to produce a decision on when Gül’s term would expire because the issue required “a special study and assessment.”