Power test for Turkey's main opposition party
ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu. AA photoThe main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) is forging ahead in double-quick time to assemble a convention over party regulations. Opposition members within the CHP had failed to garner the sufficient number of signatures to stage an extraordinary convention with a vote, but while Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu was riding on the top of the waves, the party’s former secretary-general, Önder Sav, succeeded in collecting some 400 signatures, even without Deniz Baykal’s backing.
Kılıçdaroğlu and his aides’ negligence toward the party’s grassroots and its delegates have surely played a part in helping Sav reach this point. The real reason, however, has to do with the party’s existing policies. The CHP’s grassroots feel uneasy about the general headquarters’ political stance. Veteran politician Sav took note of this and got what he wanted. The convention on party regulations will not suffice for Sav and his aides. Sav knows that the delegates under his influence will slip through his hands during the main assembly in the fall. Baykal, too, harbors similar worries. Their chances of determining the CHP’s leadership and designing its policies will gradually ebb away when they lose their current delegate power.
Baykal and Sav’s team, fearing a purge from their party, would like to amend party regulations with all the force they can deliver as they see fit, and then take it to the extraordinary convention for a vote with the CHP’s current delegate setup. Baykal lent no support to Sav in getting the necessary signatures, but he is clearly ready to move in unison with him.
Kılıçdaroğlu and the rest of the general headquarters staff are worried the opposition garnered 400 signatures. If that figure reaches up to 651 after the convention on party regulations, it would mean a new extraordinary convention with a vote at the CHP. A convention assembled with the current delegate setup, without holding provincial and district congresses first, could leave Kılıçdaroğlu with “a party assembly under siege,” if not outright unseat him. At any rate, it is difficult for the opposition to topple Kılıçdaroğlu without offering strong alternative candidates for leadership. The CHP’s dissidents, therefore, are trying to take over the Party Assembly and impose their own policy choices on Kılıçdaroğlu.
It seems apparent that Kılıçdaroğlu is aware of the opposition’s aims. It is said he could alter the CHP’s frontline cadres before the fall assembly, provided he can safely and soundly make it through the convention over party regulations. In some sense, he is going to try to preserve his authority by relaying to the party’s grassroots the message that he will piece together any leadership cadre they want, provided they throw their support behind him.
All the cards will be on the table during the convention over regulations, it seems. The general headquarters and the opposition will collide head on with the former demanding “democratic party regulations” and the latter plotting to take over the Party Assembly and alter its policies. A test of strength will ensue between both sides. If the opposition wins this time around, succeeds in inserting “primary elections” into the regulations charter and thus prevents Kılıçdaroğlu from appointing all the candidates, then Kılıçdaroğlu’s chances of shaping the leadership cadre during the first convention with a vote will wane.
If Kılıçdaroğlu succeeds in staving off the opposition and gets what he wants, then he is also going to be spared of all the stumbling blocks on his way until the next general election. The dissidents will be left to their own devices to deal with the fear of being purged from the party’s ranks.
A proposition to heat up Parliament!
ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has passed a proposal to amend the Parliament’s Internal Regulations through the Constitutional Commission and is currently planning to unveil the proposal that will tone the opposition’s voice down in the General Assembly.
The proposition has led all three of the opposition parties, the CHP, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), to issue a joint reaction for the first time.
Representatives of the three parties have walked out of the Constitutional Commission, but they are now rolling their sleeves to put up the real fight at the General Assembly. “We are not going to let you pass this proposal. You are up for quite a surprise at the General Assembly. You leave us no other chance but to occupy the Parliament rostrum,” CHP deputy Muharrem İnce said.
The proposal is clearly going to create a stir at Parliament. Both CHP and BDP members will attempt a number of acts at the General Assembly, including invading the Parliament rostrum, according to rumors I have picked up.
The AKP, on the other hand, is indicating that it will not back down. It might be useful to recall that earlier amendments to Internal Regulations had always led to tumult in the past on Parliament grounds. Fevzi Şihanlıoğlu, the Şanlıurfa deputy of the True Path Party (DYP), had lost his life in 2001 when Parliament was discussing Internal Regulations at the General Assembly.
Diyarbakır charter move
ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
The Parliament’s Constitutional Reconciliation Commission is still taking suggestions from various institutions and establishments while also testing the waters across Anatolia regarding the new constitution by convening regional meetings from time to time.
The commission met in the central province of Konya for the first time and exchanged ideas with around 400 participants. It is also set to check the general pulse in the east and the southeast at the start of February. The commission is going to convene a grand meeting in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır on Feb. 19 that is expected to draw over a thousand participants.
“The Kurds attach great importance to the new constitution. The commission is probably going to hold its most ostentatious meeting in Diyarbakır,” said one commission member with respect to general expectations in the region. The commission is going to stage its last meeting in Istanbul toward the end of March.