Erdogan’s party secretly negotiating return to parliamentary system with opposition, claims Demirtaş

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The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) may have been negotiating with opposition parties for a return to a parliamentary system, according to Selahattin Demirtaş, the imprisoned former co-chair of the People’s Democratic Party (HDP).

“I guess they are making secret, unofficial negotiations with some opposition parties for a new constitution, which includes a return to the parliamentary system. As far as I know, the HDP isn’t among them,” he told journalist Nedim Türfent, who is also behind bars on charges related to “terrorism.”

Türfent, who has been behind bars since May 2016 in Van, at the country’s eastern end, interviewed Demirtaş, who has been held in Edirne at the country’s northwestern edge since October 2016.

The interview was made in written form through attorneys and was published on Gazete Karınca website.

When asked about the government’s recent calls for a new constitution, Demirtaş said it has two aims: “First, the government has a new and positive story. It wants to fill this gap with the new constitution debates. Second, as it has become clear that it can’t win an election in the current system, it wants to leave the door open for a return to the parliamentary system and keep its options open for the possibility of negotiations with the opposition.”

The alliance with the MHP

Ruled with a parliamentary system since the foundation of the Republic in 1923, Turkey switched to a presidential system following a referendum in 2017. Fifty percent plus one vote is needed to be elected president in the first round.

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan became the first president in the new system after receiving 52.59 percent of the votes in the June 2018 elections. Demirtaş, who also competed in the election despite being in prison, got 8.40 percent of the votes.

While looking for the possibilities of returning to the parliamentary system, the AKP is also trying not to anger the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), which it has forged an alliance with since the 2017 referendum, Demirtaş said.

“If the AKP can convince the opposition of the issue of a new constitution and make it accept returning to the parliamentary system before the election, the People’s Alliance [with the MHP] will dissolve and a new political balance will emerge,” he said.

“I don’t know whether these will happen. But the AKP has an intense pursuit and lobby work” he said, noting that the opposition has not so far accepted its offer.

“I wish they genuinely and seriously attempted to make a really civilian democratic constitution. But this is not the case,” he added.

The closure case

About the closure case against the HDP over its alleged “terror” activities, Demirtaş said he hoped the Constitutional Court would give a lawful judgment.

“However, the HDP central administration will do what is necessary and take the measures against a possible decision of closure. It is not possible for us to know that and make decisions in [prison],” he said. “The whole historic responsibility is on the shoulders of our friends. I’m sure that our friends are aware of their responsibility.”

The Constiutionalcourt on March 31 returned the indictment of the case on procedural grounds.

About his imprisonment, Demirtaş said he didn’t expect “justice” without a change in the political balance.

Turkey has defied a European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) Grand Chamber decision in December for his immediate release. (TP/VK)

Source: Bianet

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