Baku, Azerbaijan, July 27
By Rufiz Hafizoglu – Trend:
Turkish opposition, Republican People’s Party (CHP), lawmakers refused to leave parliament early July 27, in protest of draft bylaw changes under consideration, the Turkish media outlets reported.
Changes to the parliament bylaws were proposed by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP). Fourteen of the 18 items in the proposal were accepted by the general assembly and four are still pending.
Reportedly, the main reason for the opposition’s protest was the reduction in the time for parliamentarians’ speeches, from ten to three minutes.
CHP regards this as limiting the opposition in expressing an opinion.
The proposed changes were accepted by parliament’s Constitutional Committee last week after being tabled by the AKP and MHP in the face of criticism from the two other parliamentary parties.
One of the proposals would reduce the amount of time lawmakers can debate a parliamentary motion from 40 minutes to 14 minutes – five minutes for the MP proposing the motion and three minutes each for MP from the other three parties.
In other debates, the length of time a lawmaker speaks would also be cut from 10 minutes to three minutes. The planned changes would also impose heavy penalties on lawmakers who do not swear the correct parliamentary oath.
Those who fail to make the pledge at the beginning of a new parliament would not be recognized as a member of the Grand National Assembly.
The planned bylaws follow April’s referendum, as the country prepares to move towards a presidential system.
Moreover, the new rules envisage penalties for incorrect statement about the 1915 events. Turkish MPs will be fined 12,000 liras in the case of making statements about the 1915 events contradicting the national interests of the country [official exchange rate is 3.5638 TRY/USD on July 27], which accounts for two-thirds of an MP salary.
It is also forbidden for the MPs to use the phrase “Iraqi Kurdistan”.
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