World Bulletin / News Desk
Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu on Tuesday said that his party will reconsider rescheduling upcoming local elections to an earlier date if two parties in Parliament ask for its support.
Two weeks ago, the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), which had agreed to hold local elections next year on Oct. 27 rather than in March 2014, submitted a proposal to Parliament for the change.
The CHP wanted elections to be held on Nov. 3, 2013, citing the fact that the proposed date of Oct. 27 comes two days before Republic Day, celebrated on Oct. 29.
The proposal failed to secure the backing of a majority of deputies in the second round of voting on the issue in Parliament last Friday, bringing the prospect of a referendum to the nation's agenda.
When asked what his party's attitude would be if the two parties asked for their support to hold the local elections on Nov. 3, 2013, Kılıçdaroğlu said, “We will consider this after they come to us with the proposal.”
The remarks were made to reporters at the end of his party's parliamentary group meeting.
During the group meeting, Kılıçdaroğlu criticized the AK Party government for failing to solve the unemployment problem in the country, although he said the media portrays the situation as if the unemployment level is dropping in Turkey.
“Are you kidding the nation? Some 97,000 people have joined the army of the unemployed over the past month and you still talk about a decline in unemployment on TV programs. That is the reason why you do not deserve to be trusted. That is the reason that, while the population of this country grows, the number of those reading newspapers falls,” said Kılıçdaroğlu.
A total of 360 lawmakers voted in favor of the proposal, while 72 voted against it in the second round. All of the negative votes came from the CHP and the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), while several CHP members voted in favor of the proposal.
If President Abdullah Gül approves the proposal, voters will then go to polling stations to vote on a referendum, as the proposal fell short of the required number of votes in Parliament. If fewer than 367 deputies vote in favor of a submitted bill or proposal, a referendum must be held for the proposal to take effect, according to the Constitution.
To another question regarding whether his party will make a proposal to set the date of the local elections, the CHP leader said it would not.
In the meantime, MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli directed heavy criticism at Kılıçdaroğlu for failing to support the proposal for early elections, although he said the party initially supported the proposal and only later attempted to abuse it.
“The CHP played a political game in its own mind. But it will drown in this game,” he said.
If President Gül sends the proposal back to Parliament, Bahçeli said Parliament would work day and night until Oct. 27 to ensure its passage.