Ruling AKP’s constitutional panel options

Ruling AKP’s constitutional panel options

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Ruling AKP’s constitutional panel options

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has offered Parliament Speaker Cemil Çiçek to dissolve Parliament’s Constitution Conciliation Commission but Çiçek says consent of four parties is needed for that. AA photo

After more than two years of work, Parliament’s Constitution Conciliation Commission is at yet another threshold, with the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) having offered Parliament Speaker Cemil Çiçek to dissolve the Commission last week.

Nevertheless, according to a document signed by all four political parties that regulates the working principles of the Commission, Çiçek does not have the authority to end the work by his own initiative.
As a matter of fact, during a meeting on Nov. 14, Çiçek also said he would make public that the Commission had been dissolved only if the four parties agree to it. The AKP insisted that Çiçek could dissolve the Commission himself, but the discussion continued after the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) objected. 

Eventually, having failed to arrive at a conclusion over the fate of the Commission, the parties agreed to hold another meeting today (Nov. 18) for further discussions.

In order for the Commission to be dissolved, either one of the parties has to officially declare that it will not attend the Commission’s work anymore, or one of the parties should be absent from meetings on three occasions without offering any justifications. 

All opposition parties - the CHP, the MHP, and the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) – are known to be determined to continue the panel’s work. Therefore, the AKP has three options. 

At today’s meeting, it may come up with a surprise decision and declare that it is leaving the table, stating that there is no need to detain anyone anymore as it is “obvious” that a charter cannot be drafted with the three opposition parties.

The second option is to set a deadline and continue low-profile work until the first days of the New Year. It can then leaving the table in January and use this situation as a tool in the local elections scheduled for March 2014, blaming the opposition for the failure of the efforts.

The third and last option is to leave the table after the local elections, while also replacing Mehmet Ali Şahin and Mustafa Şentop with other names representing the ruling party at the Commission. 

Rumors suggest that the AKP will not come up with a big surprise and will continue participating in the Commission’s work, at least until the New Year, with the consent of the AKP leader, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. 

The Commission’s chances for producing further content seem unlikely, but the parties are refraining from leaving the table, taking the possible public reaction into consideration. Thus, it seems that the Commission will continue functioning for a certain period of time, becoming part of election strategies and once more postponing its eventual decision for self-dissolution. 

Eyes on cabinet reshuffle

This week, the ruling AKP will finalize its internal surveys aimed at estimating the popularity of potential candidates. As candidates for the local elections scheduled for March 2014 are expected to be announced in early December, eyes are on a probable Cabinet reshuffle. Rumors say Erdoğan will, at most, replace three members of the Cabinet and his related decision will be announced before the beginning of December. 

The popular question nowadays is whether Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç, who recently said he is very close to drawing the curtains on his political life, will be among those to be replaced. Rumors say Arınç will continue with his current post if he does not particularly insist on leaving politics.

Öcalan’s favored mayor nominees

Rumors say jailed leader of the outlawed PKK, Abdullah Öcalan, has indicated the nomination of current co-leaders of the BDP, Gültan Kışanak and Selahattin Demirtaş, as co-mayors for Diyarbakır Municipality. Öcalan is said to have proposed the co-chair of the Kurdish-umbrella organization Democratic Society Congress (DTK), Ahmet Türk to run for the Mardin Municipality.

Rumors say, the BDP may nominate Diyarbakır deputy Altan Tan for the Şanlıurfa Municipality; Tuncer Bakırhan, former leader of the now-defunct pro-Kurdish Democratic People’s Party (DEHAP), for the Bitlis Municipality; and Fırat Anlı, former mayor of the Yenişehir district of Diyarbakır for the Bingöl Municipality.