HDP vows to restrict power of president to symbolic levels

HDP vows to restrict power of president to symbolic levels

HDP vows to restrict power of president to symbolic levels

DHA photo

Launching its snap election manifesto, the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) has pledged to restrict the power of the Turkish president to a “symbolic level,” lifting the controversial discretionary fund recently granted to Turkey’s head of state.

The party would make legislative amendments to strengthen the separation of powers, HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş said at the launch on Oct. 2.

The party unveiled its new slogan “With purpose, peace. With purpose, HDP,” as Demirtaş vowed that from now on the Kurdish movement would move forward with “politics and peace.”

“I can only thank those who exerted positive efforts for the benefit of the people, and who placed stone after stone going forward. But from now on we’ll go on our way with the HDP,” he said, in an apparent reference to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). 

“Yes, the regime will change: We’ll build a regime of justice. We must carry on the path with politics, with wisdom, and with peace. As [Mahatma] Gandhi said: Destroy injustice with justice and stand to applaud with bloodless hands,” he added.

Demirtaş also likened a Turkey without the HDP to a “ship drifting to dangerous waters.” 

“Today, if the ship is not sinking despite all attacks, this is thanks to the balance provided by the HDP,” he stated.

The HDP co-chair again vowed to cross the 10 percent election threshold in the snap poll to be held Nov. 1. 
“They said we would be below the threshold [in the last election in June]. But we’ll bury the palace [presidency] under peace,” Demirtaş said.

At the same event, HDP co-chair Figen Yüksekdağ voiced the slogan, “We’ll not let you be dictator,” in reference to the party’s June 7 election campaign motto, “We’ll not let you be president,” addressing President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s ambition to change Turkey to an executive presidential system.  

Yüksekdağ said the Justice and Development Party (AKP) first came to power through elections, but now does not want to leave power through elections.

“Instead, those who came to power through elections now want to come to power again through war,” she added, in reference to the ongoing clashes between the security forces and the PKK in Turkey’s southeast.

Meanwhile, the HDP will lift the economic embargo on trade with Armenia to develop bilateral relations, support efforts for the reunification of Cyprus, and pursue Turkey’s EU membership process, Yüksekdağ said. 

She also pledged the HDP would take the necessary measures to “stem the flow of foreign fighters into Syria,” while also supporting the establishment of a Palestinian state and objecting to the Israeli occupation on Palestinian land. 

In its manifesto, the party promised to bring the “co-chair” system to Turkey’s entire administration system, from the presidency down to local village headmen, while also extending the use of mother tongues in public and emphasizing “multilingual municipal work.”

The manifesto reiterated that the HDP would abolish the country’s 10 percent election threshold. Under the current constitution, political parties need to win 10 percent of the vote nationally to enter parliament. 

On the economic side, the party said it would provide 250 TL rental aid to all those who are not landholders and allow free transportation for disabled citizens and students up to 18 years old. It also pledged to make changes to income tax thresholds.