Ruling AKP vague on its plan for presidential system

Ruling AKP vague on its plan for presidential system

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Ruling AKP vague on its plan for presidential system

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is believed to hold ambitions of introducing a presidential system. DHA photo

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is continuing to give vague signals on Constitution drafting efforts, as Parliament’s Constitution Conciliation Commission reached consensus on two more articles on the working of the judiciary.

While it has given up on its proposal for a “Courts of Appeal” that would have brought together all high courts under one roof, the AKP has continued to insist on its version regarding the Council of State, which is in line with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s long time ambition of introducing a presidential system.

In a surprise maneuver, on July 30 the AKP revoked its proposal for a “Courts of Appeal” abolishing the Supreme Court of Appeals and the Council of State, but still insists that the president should have a say in the selection of the members of the Council of State.

The AKP has proposed that a number of the judges to be appointed to the Council of State must be selected by the president, among candidates nominated by the Council of Ministers. In this way, the party has again indicated its insistence on the presidential system.

Ahmet İyimaya, an AKP deputy and a member of the Commission, stated that their withdrawal of the “Courts of Appeal” proposal was an important conciliatory step, but did not mean that they had given up on the presidential system. İyimaya reiterated the party’s position that it would only withdraw its proposal for a presidential system if a consensus could be attained on all other articles of the new constitutional draft.

At the meeting on July 30, by reaching consensus on three other articles related to the judiciary, the Commission made the total number 60, a day after agreeing on nine articles in a single meeting convened on July 29.

Articles on the “Security of Tenure of Judges,” “Decisions of the Constitutional Court” and the “Court of Jurisdictional Disputes,” all four parties achieved consensus. The “Military Justice” article remained controversial, as the AKP and the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) demanded that these courts should only try during war times, which was opposed by the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).

A partial agreement was attained regarding an article regulating the Supreme Council, which is the name of the Constitutional Court when it tries ministers and senior members of the judiciary.

According to the agreement, the Supreme Council would be able to try the president, the Parliament speaker, members of the Council of Ministers, Constitutional Court presidents, members of the Supreme Court of Appeals, the Council of State and the Board of Judges, and chief prosecutors on cases related to their professions. The CHP and the MHP proposed that the Chief of the General Staff should also be tried by the Supreme Council, but this proposal was not accepted.