Turkish Parliament votes to lift lawmakers’ immunity

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The Turkish Grand National Assembly (TBMM)

The majority of the Turkish parliament voted on Tuesday in favor of a bill which calls for the removing of some lawmakers’ immunity from prosecution, especially the lawmakers from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP).

The bill which paves the way for a constitutional amendment to strip the lawmakers, who currently face investigations, of their immunity from prosecution, received 348 votes in favor while 155 lawmakers voted against it in the first round of voting.

The votes in favor are enough to carry the bill to the second round of voting, which would determine whether the bill would pass into law with or without holding a referendum.

All 316 deputies from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) signed and submitted the bill, which mainly targets Kurdish politicians, to the parliament on April 12.

If enacted, the bill would affect  138 lawmakers who currently face investigations, 50 of them from HDP.

The bill needs to receive at least 367 votes in favor in the second round of voting to pass into law without holding a referendum; a referendum can be requested by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan if it receives less than 367.

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