TURKEY: Ciller claims success for democracy

17 November 1995

Prime Minister Tansu Ciller, as expected, won a parliamentary vote of confidence on 5 November in her renewed coalition government and its transitional programme until early general elections, set for 24 December. The coalition of Ciller's conservative True Path Party (DYP) and the junior social democrat Republican Peoples Party (CHP) secured 243 of the 415 votes cast in the 450-member house.

'This is a success for the nation, democracy, and the parliament,' said Ciller after the vote. It confirmed her survival after a protracted struggle in a government crisis since the previous collapse of the coalition on 20 September. The crisis included a vote of no confidence in parliament on 15 October in Ciller's attempted minority administration of the DYP.

But uncertainty still clouds the programme's main objectives, the elections, and Turkey's entry into an EU customs union on 1 January 1996, say observers. A cross-party group of 93 MPs lodged an application on 3 November in the constitutional court for the postponement of the elections and amendment of a new electoral law. A decision from the court was expected in the week ending 17 November.

Many CHP deputies also oppose a proposed election alliance between the DYP and the ultra-right National Movement Party (MHP), which would require amendment of article 105 of the Political Parties Law. The article requires the closure of political parties which form different alliances in consecutive elections. The MHP formed an alliance with the Islamist conservative Welfare Party (RP) in the 1991 elections which brought the coalition to power. A bill to amend the article was expected to come before parliament in the week ending

10 November.

Within the European Parliament, a strong body of opinion believes progress on human rights and democratisation is insufficient for its ratification of the customs union in a 15 December vote (MEED 10:11:95).

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