Government ready to submit own constitutional proposal

Government ready to submit own constitutional proposal

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Government ready to submit own constitutional proposal

Parliament Speaker Cemil Çiçek says that the sun was setting on prospects for a compromised charter and calls on all parties to make their decisions. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZ

A senior ruling party official said they were ready to introduce a self-drafted Constitution to the Parliament in an indication of their willingness to renew the junta-made charter and put the blame on the oppositional parties for delaying the process, in a statement just before the constitutional committee gathered for a crucial meeting to decide on the fate of the inter-party talks.

“The AK Party (Justice and Development Party) will submit its own constitutional draft to Parliament. This is the most important indicator of our determination to rewrite the new Constitution. How could a mentality that does not understand this come to a conclusion [at the commission]?” Mustafa Elitaş, deputy parliamentary group leader of the AKP told reporters on May 3.

Elitaş’s remarks came just before the Constitutional Conciliation Committee was set to meet to decide on the fate of the panel’s mandate. The meeting was still going on when the Hürriyet Daily News went to print.

The hopes of a four-party Constitution are fading as the panel failed to produce a common text in its nearly two-year-long work. Four parties represented at the Parliament could agree only on 39 articles so far out of 180 articles discussed at the panel. Parliament Speaker Cemil Çiçek repeated his earlier statement that the sun was setting on prospects for a compromised charter and called on all parties to make a decision on whether they would continue or reject the committee’s works.

Elitaş said he agreed with Çiçek and recalled that the parties had only accomplished 10 percent of what they were assigned to conclude over the last two years.

Arguing that the three members of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) differed among themselves on many articles, Elitaş said although his party was in favor of the continuation of the parliamentary body’s works, oppositional parties’ dragging feet was making it impossible.

CHP-MHP in reaction

The AKP’s plans to walk away from the panel elicited strong reactions from opposition parties who objected to the ruling party argument that Çiçek had the authority to end the work of the panel.

“Cessation of the panel’s work is the last option. Serious agreements have been reached on important articles. These should not be wasted,” Faruk Bal, a member of the panel from the ranks of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) told reporters on May 3. “If there is a party which believes it is at a crossroad, it has to evaluate it. The MHP is not parting ways, it will continue,” he said.

Haluk Koç, spokesperson of the CHP, pointed out that the AKP had started to create difficulties in constitution-making process after the government had begun talks with Abdullah Öcalan, imprisoned leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), for resolving the terror problem.

The AKP’s proposal to convert the administrative system into a presidential system complicated the process, Koç said, adding that the deadlock would not be solved unless this proposal was withdrawn.