New charter works inch toward impass

New charter works inch toward impass

New charter works inch toward impass

Efforts to craft a new charter have reached a critical point, says Çiçek. AA photo

Parliamentary Speaker Cemil Çiçek has painted a gloomy picture for the ultimate success of a legislative panel tasked with drafting a new Constitution even while warning of the societal anger that would be directed at the commission amid any such failure.

Çiçek said yesterday that his hands would be stronger in the push to exert efforts to extend the work of Parliament’s Constitution Conciliation Commission if the commission members could merely present him a convincing argument to do so.

“No matter from where you look at it, the current point is an extremely vital, important and critical point. There was a commitment made by all four political parties,” Çiçek told Anatolia news agency. The comments after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan reiterated on March 29 his willingness to abolish the commission on March 31.

Despite Erdoğan’s criticism of the panel, Çiçek said March 31 that the parties present at the commission would submit their own drafts for a new charter on April 5. “The most productive and the most convenient period is left behind, particularly because of the election [calendar],” Çiçek said.

Local elections are scheduled to be held in March 2014 while presidential elections are set to be held in summer 2014. These elections will be followed by parliamentary elections in 2015.

Noting that he would gather with commission members for a review, Çiçek said, “If they do not present me a very valid and persuasive reason in regards to additional time … then the saying ‘Don’t hurry it up’ may not be satisfactory by itself for [seeking] additional time.”

Çiçek was scheduled to gather with commission members at a dinner yesterday after the Hürriyet Daily News went to print. Yesterday afternoon, the Constitution Drafting Commission, a sub-commission of the Parliament Constitution Reconciliation Commission, held a meeting during which the members were expected to discuss what Çiçek said rather than writing down new articles.

“Thus, as of today, we are unfortunately at such a troubled point,” he said. “Every morning is a fresh beginning.”

Last week, speaking at a meeting with correspondents, Çiçek said the executive power was entirely connected to governing systems and that a “system debate” on whether a presidential or parliamentarian system would be implemented had caused “deadlock” in the Constitution-making process.

As of yesterday, when asked whether he believed that the debates on the system had led to a deadlock in the process, Çiçek said articles concerning governing systems were a minor part of the issue. “Fundamental rights and freedoms have nothing to do with the system,” he said. “The picture should be fully represented for an objective assessment.”

Asked about his plans in the event that the commission fails to produce a text, Çiçek said he would divest himself of responsibility for the subsequent process. On March 29, Erdoğan said the AKP could try negotiating with the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) to bring an end to the deadlocked discussions. The last option would be to bring the draft to a referendum together with the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), he said.