Turkey to resume reform talks in May, first round concluded

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

Turkey to resume reform talks in May, first round concluded

The Turkish Parliament concluded the first round voting of the government-backed constitutional amendment package last night, after heated debates.

All 27 articles of the package received somewhere between 331 and 340 votes in the first round, which lasted 9 days (134 hrs) with the debate and voting of the package article by article, Anadolu news agency said.

The government-backed amendment package among other things aims to change the constitution of the Supreme Board of Judges (HSYK) and Prosecutors, and the Constitutional Court, and tie opening of closure cases against political parties to the permission of a parliamentary committee.

Though all articles of the package received over 330 votes in the first round, enough votes so far to carry the package to referendum, the result of the round does not count and a second round is required according to the law.

The bill will be voted article by article, and as a whole in the second round. 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 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 will begin on May 2, Sunday and last until May 9. A total of 31 secret votes will be held in the second round.

Leader of Turkey's main opposition, Republican People's Party (CHP), said Wednesday that they would appeal to the Constitutional Court for annulment of the government backed constitutional amendment package, should it be adopted in parliament and approved by the President.

Both the main opposition CHP and second opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) declared they would not support the bill.

CHP did not attend the voting while MHP attended and voted against the package.

Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) also said it was against the amendment and boycotted the voting except the article on closure of political parties. Some BDP deputies attended the voting of the said article and casted ballots in favour.

CHP argues, it would erode the independence of the judiciary.

CHP also claims that with 26 articles put to vote as a package, rises the question of non-separability of preferences of voters, as they are expected to vote "yes" or "no" to the whole package. It criticises the voting of the package as a whole arguing that all articles should be put to vote separately.

Second opposition Nationalist Movement Party accuses the government of attempting to politicise the judiciary and subordinate the judiciary to the executive branch.

The government which denies accusations defens the bill saying it aims at making Turkey more democratic in line with EU's expectations.

The package 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 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.


Agencies

Last Mod: 29 Nisan 2010, 11:12
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