Turkey adopts changes for constitutional court in reform talks

The parliament approved articles on the make up and terms for members of the Constitutional Court

Turkey adopts changes for constitutional court in reform talks

The Turkish parliament continued late on Sunday debating a government-backed constitutional amendment package.

After completing discussions on proposals by political parties, Turkish parliament debated and voted articles 16, 17 and 18 of the constitutional reform package.

A total of 407 deputies attended the secret voting of Article 16 that allows for the trial of military personnel at civilian courts for crimes against national security and the constitutional order.

337 deputies approved article 16, while 70 objected.

The parliament approved Article 17 on the make up of the Constitutional Court. 407 deputies cast votes, as the article won 331 in favor, the lowest number of votes since the parliament started debating the bill. 69 MPs objected to the article while two votes were empty and two were invalid.

The parliament also approved 335 to 70 Article 18 of the bill that re-defines office terms for members of the Constitutional Court. Accordingly, members would be elected for a period of 12 years and could not be re-elected.

"Reforms"

The parliament will continue discussing the bill without interruption. The bill is comprised of 27 articles and the parliament's General Assembly debates constitutional amendment bills in two rounds.

In the first round, the parliament holds a secret vote on each article after speeches on the bill and its articles and hold 30 secret ballots on the bill in the first round.
According to parliament by-laws, the second round can start at least 48 hours after the first-round ends.

Thirty secret ballots will also be held in the second round.

The bill can be adopted only by secret votes of three-fifth majority of the parliament, which is equal to votes of 330 MPs.

The president can veto the constitutional amendment bills, and send them back to the parliament for a review.

If the parliament re-adopts the vetoed bill with two-thirds majority of the parliament (equals to 367 votes), the president can call for a referendum.

If the bill is adopted by votes below 367 and if it is not vetoed by the president, it will be published in the Official Gazette to be put to referendum.

According to the Constitution, the president can call for a referendum on constitutional amendment bills or their articles, adopted by two-thirds of majority of the parliament, directly or if the president vetoes them.

The constitutional amendment bills or their articles which are not put to referendum are published in the Official Gazette.

On March 30, Turkish government made public its new constitutional amendment bill, comprised of 27 articles. It envisages amendments to the structure of the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK), and closure of political parties.

It will abolish the provisional article 15 of the constitution which does not allow trial of the members of the military junta formed after a coup on in 1980.

The bill will also abolish the ban on right to general strike; paves the way for a citizen to become a member of more than one union, and the civil servants and other public officials the right to collective bargaining.

It also paves the way for trial of parliament speaker, chief of general staff, and senior commanders by the High Tribunal on charges of crimes they commit regarding their positions.

If the bill is to be put to referendum, it is expected to be voted as a whole.

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Last Mod: 26 Nisan 2010, 14:47
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