All eyes on President Abdullah Gül after his spokesperson says Gük doesn’t find it right to hold a referendum on early local elections. ‘The president will likely send back the said constitutional amendment [to Parliament],” spokesperson for Gül, was quoted as saying by a daily yesterday.
President Abdullah Gül has signaled that he will return a constitutional amendment allowing early local elections for a second parliamentary debate as early as today.
“Considering the inconveniences that it would bring, the president doesn’t find it right to hold a referendum on the issue of having elections five months earlier. He thinks that a referendum, which would be held two months after approval, would be held under winter conditions and would lead to inconveniences with particular regard to budget expenses. The president will likely send back the said constitutional amendment [to Parliament],” Ahmet Sever, a spokesperson for Gül, was quoted as saying by daily Milliyet yesterday.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was presiding over a meeting of his party’s Central Executive Board (MYK) late yesterday, during which the constitutional amendment bringing local elections forward by five months was likely to be a key item on the agenda, because the party will now have to draft a new roadmap after President Abdullah Gül signaled the amendment’s possible veto.
The suggestion of Gül’s choice came particularly swiftly, as the related office at Parliament sent the amendment to the presidential Çankaya Palace for Gül’s review late yesterday.
‘Winter not a healthy time for polls’
Parliament approved late on Friday the constitutional amendment bringing local elections forward by five months, but as the amendment was approved by 360 votes, just short of the two-thirds majority needed for it to pass without a second reading, eyes turned to Gül to see whether he would return it for a second debate or take it to the people’s vote in a referendum. This is because any constitutional amendment approved by 330 to 367 votes is legally subject to a referendum.
Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli said on Oct. 14 that they were still in favor of the amendment, but that they did not think holding a referendum on the issue was the correct option. “To make people struggle with a new referendum cannot be explained in the rules of political ethics or justice” he said.
Ömer Çelik, deputy chair of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), told reporters ahead of the MYK meeting that the decision was down to Gül. “How he will act is down to the President. It wouldn’t be right to say something about his inclination. As for the path we will follow, this will be discussed in the relevant boards of the party and we will outline the roadmap to be followed.”
In Siirt, Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ underlined the importance of correct timing of elections and referendums, noting that holding a vote during winter would create many complications.
“[Winter] is not a healthy time with regard to the election calendar, promotion, or the voters’ assessment of candidates’ projects. Let’s do things at the right time. When is the right time? October is the right
time for this,” Bozdağ was quoted as saying by Anatolia news agency.
(Hürriyet Daily news)