Parliamentary row over internal rules postponed

Parliamentary row over internal rules postponed

ISTANBUL - Daily News with wires
Parliamentary row over internal rules postponed

Lawmakers of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) object to the Deputy Parliament Speaker who runs a session on changes to internal regulations. AA photo

Parliament Speaker Cemil Çiçek stepped in yesterday to defuse a row over a draft bill amending Parliament’s internal rules, but his efforts to find a mid-way formula produced only a seemingly temporary pause in the tensions.

“The opposition has some proposals. Considering those proposals, we [all four parties] will meet next week and reach a consensus. I think we are very close [to conciliation] because there is a positive approach to Çiçek’s proposals,” Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputy group chairman Nurettin Canikli said Feb. 3.

Joining forces in Parliament, the Republican People’s Party (CHP), the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) have mounted ferocious opposition to the AKP-drafted amendments, which would significantly curb the opportunities of opposition lawmakers to speak in the legislature and challenge moves by the ruling party.

Çiçek met twice yesterday with the deputy group chairs of the four parties in a bid to hammer out a compromise. They will meet again Feb. 6 and seek conciliation. However, the prospects don’t seem promising.

In a small step back, the AKP agreed to drop plans to force Parliament stay open at the weekend in a bid to have the draft passed.

Under the AKP-proposed bill, only two deputies would speak on a group proposal for five minutes each instead of four deputies for 10 minutes each. Çiçek proposed that four deputies speak for five minutes each on a group proposal, but on Tuesdays only.

The opposition parties however have fierce objections to a series of other provisions in the bill. Still, they agreed yesterday to have the bill debated in the General Assembly but only in general terms, while debate on specific articles was postponed to next week.

 “They have repressed the media, universities and the jurisdiction and they are trying to squelch the national will via Parliament’s internal rules. We will tear down this straightjacket,” Kılıçdaroğlu said on his Twitter account yesterday.

CHP deputy group chairman Akif Hamzaçebi said they will oppose the articles in the bill that limit the speaking time of the opposition. Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) deputy group chairman Hasip Kaplan said they are determined not to step back from their rights.

Earlier this week, the opening debate on the draft was prematurely called off as the session plunged into disarray amid ferocious exchanges and threats of physical action between AKP and opposition lawmakers.