Moment of truth for charter bid April 30

Moment of truth for charter bid April 30

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Moment of truth for charter bid April 30

‘The approximate reasonable time period that the Commission has accepted is about to come to an end,’ Parliament Speaker Çiçek (C) says on charter work. AA photo

The Parliament’s Constitution Conciliation Committee’s highly anticipated meeting due to take place today, will be the moment of truth for whether an all-inclusive four-party charter can become a reality. The Parliamentary Speaker, Cemil Çiçek, under whose leadership the meeting will be held, reminded that the time had come for the Committee to conclude its endeavors as he said, “The sun has started to set, we have entered the sunset,” in an interview with daily Bugün.

Çiçek said yesterday that, “The departure point was finalizing this before entering the medium of elections. The approximate reasonable time period that the Commission has accepted is about to come to an end.”

The end of April was the deadline set ahead of the Committee by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and the meeting is expected to highlight whether the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) would require an ally in making a new Constitution, should it fail to achieve a consensus.

Çiçek noted that the upcoming elections have heated the constitutional conciliation process, saying, “We are slowly entering the medium of elections. Parties are trying to set their candidates, convening preparatory meetings. They are making inquiries about public opinion. The medium is heated. The sun has started to set, we have entered the sunset. You cannot ask any longer how long this daylight will last,” hinting at his pessimism.

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The number of constitutional amendment proposals varies for each party, where except for the temporary article, AKP has put forward 104, MHP 106, BDP 140 and CHP 160 amendments in articles, Çiçek noted.

Çiçek underlined an often ignored benefit of the conciliation process, as he said the opinion of each party had become evident as a result of the work of the committee. Çiçek said, “Of course, a constitutional text has not appeared. Whoever criticizes because of that has every right, I have no objections to that,” but added that, “However, something has emerged. A year, six months ago, you did not know the opinion of any party concretely. You have been listening to the similar words of each party for 30 years. We did not have a text in our hands when we said ‘let’s see, what kind of Constitution will take rights and freedoms to a more advanced point, will be based on human integrity, will protect the balance among powers.’ Right now, we do have a text. When you ask a question about an issue in the Constitution, I will tell you what AKP, CHP, MHP, BDP think.”
The work of the Committee recently came under the spotlight on April 19, when the two-day long negotiations held over the “preamble” and “general principles” failed to yield any results, with parties continuing to have differences over the “irrevocable” first three articles of the Constitution.

In case of a failure to reach a consensus, the AKP is expected to submit its own proposal and seek a partner within the Parliament which is most likely to be the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP). In order for the new
Constitution to pass through Parliament, 330 seats must vote in favor, leaving the AKP in need of the support of at least one other party.

If AKP cannot find a partner, the second option would be waiting until the general elections in 2015 for a new constitutional proposal to be made, while a third option foresees the most contradictory course of action for the AKP, characterized as adding a new article to the Constitution so as to enable the acceptance of a new Constitution with a mere 330 seats. If such a route is to be followed, the new article will be put to a referendum.