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Erdogan vows to press on with reforms

Türkiye Materials 4 May 2010 05:30 (UTC +04:00)
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan says he will press on with his reform package, despite a setback in a parliamentary vote on a constitutional amendment, PRESS TV reported.
Erdogan vows to press on with reforms

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan says he will press on with his reform package, despite a setback in a parliamentary vote on a constitutional amendment, PRESS TV reported.

"We will continue on our path. Withdrawing the constitutional draft is not on the agenda," Erdogan said shortly after lawmakers rejected a constitutional amendment to protect political parties in a second round of voting on Monday.

The proposal to make it harder to ban political parities was scrapped from a reform package after it got support from 327 lawmakers in the 550-seat parliament, falling short of the 330 votes required for approval, Parliament Speaker Mehmet Ali Sahin said.

However, Erdogan said he would call a referendum if he fails to secure the necessary number of votes for the reform package.

Under the article, the chief state prosecutor would be stripped of his power to initiate cases to ban parties before the constitutional court, requiring the approval of a parliamentary commission first.

The 27-article reform package was drafted by Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AKP) in March.

The AKP says the reforms are needed to control the power of judges and prosecutors and to pave the way for Turkey's accession to the European Union.

However, some judicial officials have called the move "unconstitutional."

And the opposition says the campaign for a constitutional amendment is part of the AKP's quest for more power.

The reform package also includes an article that would make the army accountable to civilian courts.

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