No end to Gül’s term row

No end to Gül’s term row

Turkey’s main opposition has continued its objections to the government’s attempts to fix President Abdullah Gül’s term at seven years, suggesting that legislative efforts on the matter are unconstitutional.

“The Constitution clearly states the president’s term is five years,” deputy Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Gürsel Tekin told reporters yesterday. “As the CHP, we think it is not possible to implement this legally through a sub-commission as it requires a change to the Constitution. It cannot be done by passing a law.”

Like the CHP, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) have said Gül is entitled to a five-year, once-renewable term under constitutional amendments that were adopted in 2007, shortly after Parliament elected Gül to a single seven-year term.

 A parliamentary sub-commission tasked with fine-tuning a bill on the procedures of presidential elections this week added a provision to set Gül’s term at seven years.

The article, backed by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), states that “the mandate of the 11th president is seven years,” parliamentary sources said. The draft would also include a provision indicating that the incumbent president would be bound by legislation valid at the time he was elected, an implicit suggestion that Gül would serve a single term and would not be eligible to stand for re-election in 2014, the sources said.

“When you look to the implementation of the Constitution, it is apparent the term is five years. This cannot be changed through a law. If you accept that the mandate is seven years, you will do so by enacting a law against the Constitution and the Constitutional Court will [overrule] it,” prominent former politician Hüsamettin Cindoruk told the Hürriyet Daily News earlier this week.