Turkish govt may hold referendum on new constitution

Sadullah Ergin told reporters on Sunday that any deadlock in writing the new constitution could be circumvented by referring them to such a referendum.

Turkish govt may hold referendum on new constitution

World Bulletin / News Desk

Turkey's justice minister has said his party could ask citizens to approve the new constitution in a popular referendum on articles that parties cannot agree on as a deadlock over drafting the country's supreme law looms large.

In an attempt to alleviate the concerns, Sadullah Ergin told reporters on Sunday that any deadlock in writing the new constitution could be circumvented by referring them to such a referendum.

Parliament can approve amended articles of the constitution with 367 votes and the ruling party can hold a referendum if it can garner 330 parliamentary votes for each of the constitutional articles. The ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) currently does not have 330 deputies to vote for articles and provide for a referendum, needing the cooperation of at least one parliamentary party to do so.

Ergin told reporters that hopes are being lost as the time is running out for writing the new constitution but his ruling party will do its best to make sure the new draft is adopted.

The Turkish ruling party, brought to power for the third time in the 2011 parliamentary elections, said its first priority in the current term is to write a new constitution that will replace the country's obsolete, coup-era law. The AK Party earlier said it is planning to finish the drafting of the constitution by the end of 2012 and after failing to do so, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said the constitution must be finalized by the end of March. After criticism from opposition parties, the ruling party had to extend the latest deadline, too.

Only a third of the constitution has been written so far, solely including non-controversial articles. Turkey's main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) is said to be dragging feet in cooperating with the ruling party on controversial articles due to government's proposal to shift the political system to a presidential one. The CHP has said it won't cooperate with the AK Party if the presidential system is included in the new constitution. Government officials said they could abandon the presidential system proposal if there is full cooperation on other aspects of the draft.

Ergin said his party wants to write as many articles as possible with full cooperation, hoping to write all of the articles with the agreement of all four parties represented in the Reconciliation Commission -- the parliamentary commission tasked with writing the new constitution.

The justice minister added that more than 60 percent of the constitution could be written with full cooperation but his party will go to a referendum in cases where there is not complete agreement.

Last Mod: 24 Şubat 2013, 15:18
Add Comment