Turkey approves judges' body reform, final vote set

Turkey's parliament voted in favour of an article restructuring a key judicial body.

Turkey approves judges' body reform, final vote set

World Bulletin / News Desk

Turkey's parliament voted early on Thursday in favour of an article restructuring a key judicial body, giving a fresh boost to the government's constitutional reform moves after an early setback.

The parliament adopted six more articles on the fourth day of the second round vote on the constitutional amendment package. The parliament debated and voted the 18th, 19th, 20th, 21st, 22nd and 23rd articles of the bill on Wednesday, Anadolu news agency said.

The reform of the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) secured 334 votes in the 550-seat assembly, exceeding the 330 threshold.

Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, whose AK party holds 335 seats, has vowed to call a referendum on the reforms if it fails to secure the necessary 367 votes to push through the overall package, on which a final vote is set for Thursday evening.

MPs on Monday rejected an article making political party bans harder in a blow to Erdogan, who says the reforms bring Turkey closer to EU standards.

However, sentiment in the ruling party camp was boosted on Tuesday when another article overhauling the Constitutional Court won the backing of the assembly.

The failure of the legislation on political party closures resulted from dissent among a group of AK Party deputies, but Erdogan appears to have restored party discipline in the subsequent votes, Reuters news agency said.

"Articles passed"

A total of 408 MPs joined the second round vote on the 18th article of the package which limits the term in office of Constitutional Court members. According to the article, members of Turkey's top legal body will be elected for 12 years, and no one can be elected to membership twice. 337 MPs voted in favor of the article, while 71 voted against it.

During the first round vote on this article, 406 MPs cast their votes. 335 MPs voted in favor, 70 voted against it. And one MP cast a blank vote.

A total of 409 MPs joined the second round vote on the 19th article of the package allowing citizens to make individual applications to the Constitutional Court. The article 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. 337 MPs voted in favor of the article, while 70 voted against it. And one MP cast a blank vote.

In the first round vote on the 19th article, 337 MPs voted in favor, 69 voted against it. And one MP abstained.

The parliament also adopted the 20th article of the bill amending the Article 149 of the Turkish Constitution about trial procedures of the Constitutional Court. According to the article, the court will work as two chambers and a general board. A total of 408 MPs joined the second round vote on the 20th article. 336 MPs voted in favor of the article, while 71 voted against it. One abstained.

In the first round vote on the 20th article, 338 MPs voted in favor, 70 voted against it.

A total of 407 MPs joined the second round vote on the 21st article of the package amending the Article 156 of the Turkish Constitution about the Military Court of Appeals. 336 MPs voted in favor of the article, while 71 voted against it.

In the first round vote on the 21st article, 338 MPs voted in favor, 70 voted against it.

A total of 408 MPs joined the second round vote on the 22nd article of the package amending the Article 157 of the Turkish Constitution about the High Military Administrative Court. 337 MPs voted in favor of the article, while 71 voted against it.

In the first round vote on the 22nd article, 335 MPs voted in favor, 70 voted against it. One abstained and one MP cast a blank vote.

The parliament also adopted the 23rd article of the bill amending the Article 159 of the Turkish Constitution about the structure of HSYK. According to the article, the permanent members of the board will increase to 22 from 7, and the number of its associate members will rise to 12 from 5. A total of 409 MPs joined the second round vote on the 23rd article. 334 MPs voted in favor of the article, while 73 voted against it. One abstained and one MP cast a blank vote.

In the first round vote on the 23rd article, 336 MPs voted in favor, 72 voted against it. And one Mp cast a blank vote.

"Final vote"

The parliament will continue debating the package on Thursday beginning from the 24th article.

The articles and entirety of the bill needs to receive over 367 of the votes in order to be adopted. If it receives somewhere between 330 and 367 it will be put to referendum. If any of the articles receive less then 330 it will be automatically rejected. If during the voting of the package as a whole it receives less then 330 it will be rejected.

The second round of the voting which began on May 2, Sunday will last until May 9.

A total of 30 secret votes will be held in the second round.

The amendment package will abolish the provisional article 15 of the constitution which does not allow trial of the members of the National Security Council formed after a coup 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.

The main opposition party has said it will appeal to the Constitutional Court to annul the amendments.

Last Mod: 06 Mayıs 2010, 11:45
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