A referendum may be in sight to set the date of the country’s upcoming local elections as the government’s submitted proposal for the change failed to secure the backing of a majority of deputies in the second round of voting on the issue in Parliament on Friday.
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 Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) while several CHP members voted in favor of the proposal.
However, the voting in Parliament ended with an unexpected result. 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 less 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.
The CHP wants 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 BDP, on the other hand, would prefer to see the elections held in May 2014.
The local elections had been planned for March 29, 2014, but the AK Party proposed holding the local elections earlier because politicians have difficulty campaigning in winter due to adverse weather conditions.
Former Grand Unity Party (BBP) leader Muhsin Yazıcıoğlu died in a weather-related helicopter crash along with five others near Kahramanmaraş in 2009 while campaigning for local elections.