Parliament voted on Tuesday to open lifting parliamentary immunity for debate, but the first round of voting indicates the county may head to a referendum, most likely in September, to decide on lifting parliamentary immunities.
In a secret ballot on Tuesday night, 348 deputies in the 550-seat Parliament voted in favor of the proposal for a constitutional change that would lift the parliamentary immunities of deputies. The second round of discussions will be held on May 20, and the proposal needs to get at least 367 votes to have an immediate effect. However, if the proposal gets between 330 and 367 votes on Friday, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan could refer it to a referendum. In this case, the public could go to the ballot box to decide on lifting parliamentary immunities. According to political sources, a referendum could be help in September.
The Justice and Development (AK) Party, the Republican People's Party (CHP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) backed the proposal during discussions in the parliamentary Constitutional Commission. The representatives of these parties hold 488 of the chamber's 550 seats. CHP Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu and MHP Chairman Devlet Bahçeli initially said their party would support the proposal. The proposal was expected to pass by securing a strong enough majority to avoid a referendum, but the result suggests the main opposition CHP backpedaled and voted against the proposal. "The CHP cheated and lied while looking into the eyes of the nation," Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ said on Wednesday to criticize what he called the CHP's ambivalent attitude.
As of Tuesday, the number of dossiers on deputies reached 667 for 138 members of Parliament. A total of 51 dossiers were drafted on CHP deputies, 50 for Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) deputies, 27 for AK Party, nine for MHP deputies and 1 for an independent deputy.
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