Proposal finalized for 18 year old MPs

Proposal finalized for 18 year old MPs

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) finalized a constitutional amendment yesterday which will lower the required age for candidates seeking election to Parliament from 25 to 18. It would also grant conscripts and cadets the right to vote.

AKP executives were set to introduce the amendment to the Parliamentary Speaker’s office yesterday after the Hürriyet Daily News went to print. The proposal also eliminates the requirement that military service be completed before running for office.

In response to questions, Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ indicated that the proposal would allow military school students the constitutional right to be elected to Parliament as well.

‘Hurtful insult to our youth’

When asked whether cadets would have to leave school in the event the chose to run for Parliament, Bozdağ said: “Issues regarding this — [the amendments] limits, content and exceptions — will be arranged by law. There will not be any limiting of the content. Limits and procedure of use of this right will be arranged by law.”

On Oct. 5, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called on opposition parties to lend their support to the amendment. However, the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) shunned the proposal.

In remarks published yesterday and delivered to reporters during a flight from Baku to Ankara on Oct. 16, Erdoğan recalled that MHP deputy Özcan Yeniçeri held a press conference with two 18-year-olds in an effort to prove they were not experienced enough to be elected as lawmakers.

“What a hurtful insult to our youth. His action was shameful. We have to trust our youth,” Erdoğan said.

Erdoğan said the government was considering granting the right to vote to soldiers serving their compulsory military service. “Military [officials] object to this on the grounds that private soldiers will be politicized if they are given the right to vote, but I don’t agree with this opinion.”