AK Party’s presidential system offer
The first concrete step about the presidential system was taken on Nov. 10 when Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım met with Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli.
Before he met the MHP leader, the PM met with legal experts last weekend and worked on the constitutional draft, finalizing the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AK Party) offer on the presidential system.
The presidential system preparatory work was conducted by the general secretary of the party, Abdülhamit Gül, in the party and the chief adviser of the president, Professor Şükrü Karatepe, at the Office of the President. In last weekend’s meeting, the text was finalized.
Professor Karatepe said there were two alternative studies; one was a new constitution according to the presidential system while the other was adapting the current constitution to the presidential system. These two proposals have been submitted to the MHP leader.
The new constitution written particularly for the presidential system can be called the brand new presidential constitution.
The second proposal, which is the adaptation of the current constitution to the presidential system is the one, in my opinion, that was mostly focused on during the meeting. The bullet points in this draft are as such:
1- Presidential system is proposed; thus the name of the system in the constitution will be the presidential system.
2- A system like the presidential system in the U.S. is proposed but there are certain differences. It is based on a unitary system, not a federal system. Not a two-chamber parliament but a one-chamber parliament is proposed.
3- Since the number of seats in the parliament is not adequate and since the AK Party will carry out the constitutional changes together with MHP, the red lines of MHP in the current constitution are maintained. The preface of the constitution is preserved.
4- The first four articles of the constitution remain.
5- Article 66 on citizenship is not changed.
6- The presidential oath is rearranged. Most of the “and”s in the president’s oath are removed. There are currently 11 “and”s in the oath at Article 103.
7- The text of the 1982 Constitution rearranged for the presidential system consists of 30 to 40 articles and three sections on legislation, execution and justice.
8- As in the US system, the president and the vice-president will be elected together.
9- Elections will be held every five years.
10- The (executive) president will not have the power to abolish the parliament.
11- The presidential and general elections will be held simultaneously.
12- The prime ministry system will be abolished. The president will be the head of the executive. The president will appoint his/her ministers from outside the parliament. Members of parliament will not be able to be cabinet ministers.
13- The President will be able to issue decrees. Those decrees will not be in those fields where laws cover. If the parliament does not accept the decree issued by the president, a legal arrangement on the topic may be made.
14- The president will arrange his/her own executive field with decrees. The activities of the executive president will be arranged with an executive president decree.
15- The president will have veto power on laws issued. Those laws vetoed by the president cannot be reissued at the parliament with the same majority but a qualified majority will be required.
If things go as planned, there will be a referendum held in April or in May. If it is approved in the referendum, there will not be an immediate election. Erdoğan will continue to be the president until 2019. In the meantime, laws will be enacted according to the constitutional amendments and the system will be transformed. This transformation is expected to take two years. In 2019, the presidential and general elections will be held together. The election will determine the administration that will rule the country for five years.