By Mehmet Tosun
ANKARA (AA) - The main opposition party will not lodge a complaint with the Constitutional Court over Turkey’s controversial constitution reform bill, its leader said Tuesday.
Kemal Kilicdaroglu, leader of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), told the party’s lawmakers that they would allow the public to have their say in an April 16 referendum on introducing a presidential system.
“When the sovereignty of the nation is in question, the supreme court is the court of the nation, the court of the public,” he said. “For this reason, we will not apply to the Constitutional Court.”
Following the passage of the 18-article bill in January, the CHP said it would consider seeking a Constitutional Court judgment on voting in parliament as it was marked by violence and deputies in favor of the bill seeming to violate secret ballot rules.
The bill was passed by 339 votes -- nine more than needed to put the proposals to a referendum.
The plans hand wide-ranging executive powers to the president and abolish the post of prime minister. The two largest opposition parties, the CHP and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), are opposed to the changes while the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party is supported by the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) in supporting them.
Constitutional reform has been discussed since then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was voted president in August 2014.
Under the proposals, the president can retain ties to a political party and the minimum age for parliamentary candidates is reduced to 18 while the number of deputies will rise to 600. If approved, simultaneous parliamentary and presidential elections for a five-year term would be held in November 2019.