Drafting charter from scratch impossible: Parliament Speaker Çiçek
ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
‘Despite substantial achievements, it’s obvious that reaching a consensus on the whole new Constitution is not possible,’ Çiçek says in a letter. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZParliament Speaker Cemil Çiçek has officially expressed his opinion to the leaders of the four parties in Parliament that it would be impossible for the Constitution Conciliation Commission to draft a new charter.
“Despite substantial achievements of the [Constitution drafting] process, it’s obvious that reaching a consensus on the whole new Constitution is not possible. The [charter] process could only provide a partial result,” Çiçek said in his Nov. 22 letter, adding that “indispensable red lines” of the four parties led to such a result. “Under these circumstances, there’s no need for me to maintain the presidency of the commission,” Çiçek said.
Hopes for the country’s first jointly-drafted charter faded on Nov. 19, with the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) announcing it had pulled out of the inter-party Constitution Conciliation Commission on the grounds that the panel had failed to accomplish its tasks over its two-year-long efforts.
On the Nov. 18 meeting of the commission, Çiçek announced to members of the four parties represented that he would declare his withdrawal from the commission via a letter sent to the party leaders. However, members from all three opposition parties met on Nov. 19 in the absence of Çiçek and AKP lawmakers, underlining that the Parliament speaker had no right to unilaterally end the commission’s work.
Consensus on 60 articles
The charter panel has been able to agree on 60 articles and no consensus has been reached for the remaining 112 articles since it began its work in October 2011. Ahmet İyimaya, a panel member from the AKP, has said that “nobody left the table.” “The table became void by default when it was understood that the aim [of drafting a charter] is impossible. The legal entity of the commission was terminated when the commission chair withdrew,” İyimaya said in a statement, adding that “partial” constitutional amendments could be brought to the agenda after local elections.
A commission member from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), Atilla Kart, also said that a partial constitutional amendment on chapters of fundamental rights and freedoms as well as the judiciary could be made if parties reached a common understanding over the issue.