AKP set to submit charter amendment draft to parliament
Nuray Babacan - ANKARAThe ruling the Justice and Development Party (AKP) is scheduled to submit a draft massive constitutional amendments to parliament following talks with the nationalist opposition once it collects the signatures of its 316 lawmakers.
The package will be submitted to parliament after the last signature is made by Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım following his party’s complete agreement on the drafted amendments with the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).
Yıldırım had said earlier the draft would be submitted this week.
AKP and MHP teams have carried out lengthy and detailed works on the constitutional amendments in the last three days after Yıldırım and MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli briefly met on Dec. 5 and announced that there were no big problems.
Yıldırım discussed the discussions with Bahçeli during a meeting with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan late on Dec. 7.
According to information obtained by daily Hürriyet, AKP and MHP teams have focused on finding a formula on three main issues: the authorities the current president will use until 2019; the quorum required to take the president to the Supreme Council for prosecution if necessary and the limits to presidential decrees.
On the first issue, it has been agreed that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will not be able to issue decrees until 2019 when the system will be formally put in place. Again he will not be able to establish a link with a political party until 2019. The proposed governance change will go into force in 2019 although the current head of state will still be able to use some provisional authorities.
On the second issue, the AKP agreed to reduce the quorum to send the president to Supreme Council from a proposed 413 out of 550 lawmakers to 367 in line with the MHP’s demand. The two parties have also reached a compromise on the scope of presidential decrees. The AKP assented to the MHP’s insistence that any decree issued by the president should be legislated by parliament. The president will be able to use decrees on issues other than personal rights and issues related to freedoms.
The AKP has 316 votes in parliament and needs the 40-seat MHP’s backing to take the constitutional amendments to a referendum, which is expected to take place in spring 2017.