As a number of Republican People's Party (CHP) deputies draw swords against Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu after deputy immunities were lifted in Parliament on Friday, Kılıçdaroğlu reportedly gave an ultimatum to those seeking to join forces with the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) by taking the case to the Constitutional Court.
According to a report in Habertürk, Kılıçdaroğlu sent a stern message to party members inclined to collaborate with the HDP to take the lifting of immunities to the Constitutional Court. "It is forbidden to sign the HDP's appeal. If there is anyone doing so, I will get him or her expelled from the party," he reportedly said.
Stressing that only deputies who have a summary of proceedings in Parliament can go to the Constitutional Court, Kılıçdaroğlu said the CHP will stand by them until the very end.
In the final round of voting on Friday, Parliament approved a bill to make a temporary constitutional change to remove some lawmakers' immunity from prosecution to face trial. The bill will be presented to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for final approval without holding a referendum since the 367-vote threshold was passed.
In the final vote in the second round of discussions on the bill, 376 deputies out of the chamber's 550 seats approved the bill, 140 were against, five abstained, seven were declared invalid and three were empty.
The outcome of the first round of voting revealed that the CHP voted against the bill, contradicting a previous statement supporting it. Yet the party changed its strategy in the second round after drawing a reaction, contributing to the rise in yes votes.
According to an A&G research company survey last month, 95 percent of CHP voters surveyed supported the bill to lift the immunities of deputies.
Kılıçdaroğlu also slammed CHP Deputy Muharrem İnce for organizing a rally in Edremit, saying: "If there is a need to rally, it will be under the name of the CHP. No one will organize such rallies without the approval of the party."
Stressing that he is ready to gather an emergency convention if there is any dissatisfaction, Kılıçdaroğlu reportedly said its threshold could be changed.
İnce is a well-known party dissident, who has on many occasions slammed Kılıçdaroğlu's leadership skills. He previously said that a leadership that has lost six elections cannot win a seventh, emphasizing the CHP's failure in the Nov. 1 elections.
İnce's harsh criticism of the party administration again following Friday's voting, as well as the party's policies, could be a sign that İnce is soon to declare his candidacy for the chairmanship.
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