MPs to vote in second round on lifting of immunities

MPs to vote in second round on lifting of immunities

MPs to vote in second round on lifting of immunities

DHA photo

A controversial constitutional amendment that could lift the immunities of 138 lawmakers will be put to a vote for the second time on May 20, two days after a first round of results indicated that the motion will likely be taken to a referendum after failing to collect the necessary majority.

Proposed by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and supported by the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), the bill received the support of 357 of 550 lawmakers in the first vote, 10 less than the required 367 to have it approved without referendum. 

With concerns that some AKP members of parliament could break ranks and vote against the motion, the AKP is planning to impose strict measures on its lawmakers to secure their vote in line with the party’s decision even though it is a secret vote. 

The deputy parliamentary group leader of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), İdris Baluken, met Parliamentary Speaker İsmail Kahraman on May 19 to express his proposals to make sure that all lawmakers are able to vote secretly. Baluken argued that they have video recordings on how the AKP violated the secrecy of the vote in the first round, adding that it was the parliamentary speaker’s duty to ensure a secret vote.  

In the event the draft is approved either in the General Assembly or in a referendum, it will pave the way for the prosecution of 138 lawmakers on 667 different dossiers. The leaders of the three oppositional parties all have dossiers against them, with HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş facing 75 cases, Republican People’s Party (CHP) Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu 41 and MHP head Devlet Bahçeli nine. Some HDP lawmakers could be arrested as they are facing terror-related charges.