CHP under fire for its stance on pension increase for deputies

December 29, 2011, Thursday/ 17:17:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN

The Republican People’s Party (CHP) administration has received many criticisms from Parliament and CHP supporters for being dishonest in its explanations on its stance regarding a pension increase proposal.

Amid controversy over a pension increase for deputies approved by Parliament, Meral Akşener, a Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) İstanbul deputy and the deputy parliament speaker, has claimed that Republican People’s Party (CHP) Deputy Chairwoman Emine Ülker Tarhan also approved the pension increase bill, rejecting her claims to the contrary.

Akşener claimed that Tarhan had openly supported the pension increase proposal submitted by the Parliament Speaker’s Office to party officials during a session held to discuss the matter. Tarhan, in a joint statement with CHP parliamentary group deputy chairman Akif Hamzaçebi, accused CHP Bolu deputy Tanju Özcan of voting for the increase as the representative of the party without informing the CHP leader or any other members. Tarhan criticized the proposal, which was passed at a parliamentary session held on the night of Dec. 22, saying it passed with a “midnight operation” in Parliament.

Akşener’s claims affirmed Özcan’s response to Tarhan’s accusations against him. Following heavy public and intra-party pressure, Özcan said the CHP deputy chairwoman had seen him sign the documents but did not say a word.

Parliament Speaker Cemil Çiçek also spoke in support of Özcan against intra-party pressure directed at him over signing the proposal. “The approval [for the increase] is the common decision of Parliament, not of [only] some people,” Çiçek told Özcan over the phone earlier this week, the Star daily reported on Thursday.

CHP supporters also heavily criticized the CHP intra-party tension, inviting CHP deputies to be clear on where they stand. Many supporters bombarded the CHP’s official website with questions addressed to the party administration. One CHP supporter, Uğur Bozoğlan, said the difference between the old and new pensions may be given monthly to civil society organizations close to the CHP’s political position, criticizing the strong stance of some party members on the pension increase as hard to understand.

Kılıçdaroğlu calls on Gül to reject pension increase

After many CHP supporters and deputies stated their unhappiness with the CHP’s support for the pension increase last week, party leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu addressed President Abdullah Gül in a letter, asking him to reject the proposal, which was submitted to him after being accepted in Parliament.

“The proposal was passed very hastily in Parliament. The fact that the regulations was passed in a ‘midnight operation’ damages the prestige of Parliament and hurts people’s feelings,” Star quoted Kılıçdaroğlu as saying in his letter.

Furthermore, another opposition party head, MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli, who was in Mersin on Wednesday, called on President Gül to veto the pension increase just “as he vetoed the law on match-fixing” which had been submitted to him in recent months.

The pensions for deputies were increased from TL 5,300 to TL 7,700 per month, which all deputies are eligible for after four years of service, according to the pension increase proposal. In addition, if deputies remain jobless after having served in Parliament, their insurance premiums will be paid for by Parliament. If they do not meet the age and premium requirements after four years of financial support by Parliament, they will have to pay their premiums themselves.

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