World Bulletin / News Desk
Turkey's parliament on Tuesday gave enough backing to a proposal to overhaul Turkey's top court for it to remain within a constitutional reform package, keeping the government's reform hopes alive after a setback on Monday.
Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AK), which hopes to win a third consecutive term in a general election due by July 2011, has put constitutional reform at the top of its agenda, Reuters news agency said.
Erdogan says the change are needed to bring Turkey closer to EU democratic norms.
On Monday parliament rejected one of the key articles of the amendment which would have made it harder to ban political parties. Some of Erdogan's own party members broke ranks to vote against the proposal, now dropped from the reform package.
Another key proposal on reform of the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) is due on Wednesday.
More articles passed
Turkish parliament adopted four more articles on the third day of the second round vote on the constitutional amendment package, Anadolu news agency said.
The parliament debated and voted the 14th, 15th, 16th and 17th articles of the bill on Tuesday.
A total of 408 MPs joined the second round vote on the 14th article of the package about disciplinary inspections against civil servants. 339 MPs voted in favor of the article,
while 69 voted against it. Three MPs cast blank votes and one abstained.
During the first round vote on this article, 408 MPs cast their votes. 336 MPs voted in favor, 71 voted against it. And one MP cast a blank vote.
A total of 409 MPs joined the second round vote on the 15th article of the package about inspection of judges and prosecutors. 338 MPs voted in favor of the article, while 70 voted against it. One abstained.
In the first round vote on the 15th article, 335 MPs voted in favor, 71 voted against it. And one MP cast a blank vote.
Other key articles
The parliament also adopted the 16th article of the bill amending the Article 145 of the Turkish Constitution about military judiciary. The amendment paves the way for trial of military personnel by civilian courts. A total of 410 MPs joined the second round vote on the 15th article. 336 MPs voted in favor of the article, while 72 voted against it. One abstained and one cast a blank vote.
In the first round vote on the 16th article, 337 MPs voted in favor, 70 voted against it.
A total of 410 MPs joined the second round vote on the 17th article of the package amending the the Article 146 of the Turkish Constitution about structure of the Constitutional Court. 337 MPs voted in favor of the article, while 69 voted against it. Three MPs cast blank votes and one abstained. Under the amendment, the Constitutional Court will consist of 17 permanent members. Currently, the Constitutional Court has 11 permanent and four associate members.
In the first round vote on the 17th article, 331 MPs voted in favor, 72 voted against it. Two MPs cast a blank vote and two votes were invalid in the first round.
The parliament will continue debating the package on Thursday beginning from the 18th 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.
Erdogan has said he will call a referendum if the vote fails to secure the necessary support to pass the reform package as a whole.
The main opposition party has said it would appeal to the Constitutional Court to annul the amendments.
Turkish parliament backs top court reform, more passed
Turkish parliament adopted four more articles on the third day of the second round vote on the constitutional amendment package.
World Bulletin / News Desk