MHP awaits AKP proposal for possible charter team-up
ANKARAThe Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) wants to see a solid proposal for a new constitution from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) before deciding on whether to support the ruling party in its efforts.
“We want the conciliation commission in parliament to continue its work,” MHP Deputy Chairman Semih Yalçın told CNNTürk on March 21. “If not, the AKP should say what it will do. It should bring its own proposal and then seek support. There is not much to talk about before this happens.”
Yalçın’s remarks came one day after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan spoke about a possible alliance between the AKP and the MHP for the writing of a new constitution, which would also introduce his much-desired presidential system.
“I believe that the ruling party and the MHP share common ground. I am of the opinion that the people will say ‘yes’ to a national constitution that reflects its cultural fabric if these two structures sharing a common ground can come together. I hope this step will be taken,” Erdoğan said at a televised “meeting with youngsters” late on March 20.
The MHP deputy leader reiterated that his party would not support any proposal if it included a shift to a presidential system.
The AKP, which holds 317 seats in parliament, needs at least 14 lawmakers from opposition parties in order to submit a constitutional amendment that could be taken to a referendum.
Erdoğan recalled that an inter-party commission tasked with rewriting the constitution was only able to complete 60 articles. He claimed that it could not be legislated because of the objections of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) to the presidential system but said there was actually no need to seek the participation of the main opposition in the constitution-writing process.
“It is not necessary. If the ruling party and the MHP go hand in hand, they could open the way to introduce it to the public’s vote, even though they may fail to reach 367 seats. I believe the people will approve such a constitution,” the president said.
A total of 367 seats is the required majority for amending the constitution without going to a referendum.
Erdoğan was also advocating a shift to a presidential system earlier on March 20, saying the parliamentary system “failed to boost the development of Turkey.”
“I was elected with the votes of 52 percent [in the 2014 presidential election]. Since Aug. 10, 2014, I have been serving in a semi-presidential system,” he said, stressing there would be “governance problems” if the system was not adjusted.