MHP to base stance in referendum on AKP’s charter proposal

MHP to base stance in referendum on AKP’s charter proposal

MHP to base stance in referendum on AKP’s charter proposal

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The Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) will decide on its stance on a constitutional amendment that will include a presidential system after the Justice and Development Party (AKP) submits a draft to parliament, MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli said Oct. 25.

“The AKP should bring what they prepared and we will see and evaluate it. Afterwards, we will act based on what we see is right and will solidly stand behind our decision,” he said.
“Mr. [Prime Minister] Binali Yıldırım announced the constitutional draft they were working on is almost finished. Soon, this draft will be introduced to the parliamentary agenda. Under these circumstances, the MHP will examine the draft according to the party’s principles and come to a conclusion,” he said.

“If the AKP’s preparation is approved in parliament and is introduced to the public, nobody should hesitate to take a stance on the balance of democracy,” he said.

“I express with great importance, and underline it: whatever the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) decides in parliament, its stance to the public will be exactly the same,” Bahçeli said.

Bahçeli made the comments in response to criticisms accusing him of playing a tactical game on the question of a presidential system. “We did not express our stance as either a ‘yes’ or a ‘no;’ besides, what the constitutional draft contains is uncertain. In accordance with this, the people who already announced the result of the referendum should know they are a messenger of chaos, a caller of crisis and a supporter of the coup,” he said. 

On Oct. 11, the party leader proposed bringing the constitutional amendment to a parliamentary vote in order to let the people decide whether the de facto presidential system President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been imposing should be legalized. 

His comments stirred a heated debate and were interpreted as a strategic maneuver to carry the draft to referendum by supporting the AKP’s constitutional draft in a parliamentary vote. This interpretation caused criticism among opposition parties, including some MHP lawmakers who announced on Oct. 24 that they would vote against the proposal even if their party leader supported the constitutional change.

Bahçeli decried comments that indicated the MHP would vote for the draft in parliament but campaign against it in the referendum. He said their vote would be the same when voting in parliament and during the referendum after the ruling party introduces the constitutional draft to parliament. 

In response to a question asking him why he started such a debate, Bahceli answered indirectly, saying: “You will understand this better in the coming days. Those who want the continuation of de facto situation are the ones who opt for a second wave coup.”