HDP delays AKP plans for immunity vote until next week

HDP delays AKP plans for immunity vote until next week

HDP delays AKP plans for immunity vote until next week

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The ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) plans to hold a constitutional amendment vote on the removal of immunities on May 16 and 18 have been disrupted by Pervin Buldan, the acting parliament speaker from the ranks of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), who announced that parliament would not reconvene until May 17. 

The AKP’s plan to hold the vote was nixed at the General Assembly session on May 12 after the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) asked the parliament speaker to register whether the quorum was present to continue discussion of a motion introduced by the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) on mine accidents. 

After two counts, Parliament Speaker Buldan found out that the quorum was not present at the General Assembly and closed the session, saying it would reconvene on May 17 at 3.00 p.m. 

The AKP lawmakers objected to the decision, claiming that the number of lawmakers at the hall exceeded the quorum. 

The government had planned to start debates on the constitutional amendment on immunities on May 16, after discussing a motion against Economy Minister Mustafa Elitaş. 

Two votes are required on immunities and the AKP had been planning to hold them on May 16 and May 18, ahead of the AKP’s extraordinary convention to elect a new party chairman on May 22. 

Under the new parliamentary calendar, the vote will take place on May 17 after the discussions on Elitaş’s motion, probably to start later that night. 

AKP Deputy Chair Bülent Turan hit the speaker’s desk in anger about the way Buldan closed the session, criticizing the CHP and the HDP for “jointly plotting to close the General Assembly.”

“An attempt to discuss the constitutional amendment on immunities has been disrupted by the CHP,” Turan said.

CHP to be absent 

CHP Deputy Chair Levent Gök, meanwhile, told reporters that the main opposition deputies would not be present at parliament for the crucial vote.

“We have been told that the second round will take place on May 20. But we will be in Antalya for a party meeting,” Gök said, adding that the meeting had already been announced. As a result, the CHP will not be present for the planned second round of voting on the constitutional amendments on immunities, which has stirred huge controversy in Turkish politics.  

“[The AKP] still has time to change its mind. They should revise their view,” Gök added. 

The AKP and MHP have announced that they will back the constitutional amendment that would lift the immunities of mostly HDP lawmakers, but their total number is not enough to reach the required 367 votes at parliament. Although CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has announced formal party backing for the amendment, a majority of the party’s lawmakers are not expected to vote in favor in the first vote expected on May 17.