Saturday, May 8, 2010

One Step Closer to Referendum

The constitutional amendment package cleared the second round of voting parliament yesterday, though it took a serious hit on Tuesday when the article pertaining to party closures failed to garner the necessary votes needed to take it to a referendum (for more on the article, click here). At least eight AKP deputies did not vote for the closure amendment, a move Prime Minister Erdogan claimed afterward as a victory for intra-party democracy (for a skeptical report on this claim and more on the closure vote, see Goksel Bozkurt's report in Hurriyet Daily News). Despite the AKP leadership's failure to pass the amendment on party closures, the other two controversial amendments -- pertaining to a restructuring of the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) -- passed on Wednesday. The amendment package is now in President Gul's hands, who is expected to approve the package rather than send it back to parliament. Once the package is published in the Official Gazette, it is automatically submitted to referendum. The referendum can take place 60 days following publication in the Official Gazette, though the CHP is expected to challenge the legality of the referendum and the amendments themselves at the Constitutional Court, a move that could well change the timeline.

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