AKP’s offer includes presidential system

AKP’s offer includes presidential system

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
AKP’s offer includes presidential system

The ruling AKP has its own constitution proposal, says Mustafa Şentop.

In the face of a probable disagreement at the conclusion of the Constitution drafting process, the ruling party seems to have outlined its roadmap, with their presidential system ambitions at the center.

Following Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s vow on Jan. 30 to introduce their own Constitutional proposal to Parliament if the ongoing process fails by the end of March, charter panel member from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Mustafa Şentop said that they will be “persistent” in establishing a presidential system in such a case.

“Our proposal [for a new Constitution] is ready; we can submit it to Parliament at this very moment...
Under such circumstance, our proposal will include a presidential system and we will be persistent for it,” Parliament’s Constitution Reconciliation Commission member Şentop told a group of reporters at Parliament on Jan. 31.

Şentop, nonetheless, assured opposition parties that they would not insist on a presidential system proposal if the commission reaches a consensus on all other issues. “We would waive our proposal for a presidential system in case of common agreement,” he said.

‘Local version of US system’

As part of discussions on the “executive” section, the AKP suggested a “Turkified version of the U.S. executive system” for the country, preserving the unitary structure with a single Parliament and giving extraordinary authority to the president. However, proposals from all three opposition parties favor a parliamentary system.

Erdoğan on Jan. 30 declared his own deadline for the Constitution-making process as the end of March and said that the ruling party would introduce its own constitutional proposal to Parliament if the ongoing work fails.

The AKP needs 367 votes in Parliament to adopt its own constitutional proposal. To take any constitutional change to a referendum, 330 seats are needed. The AKP has 326 parliamentary seats at the moment. Commenting on speculations that the AKP will try to transfer opposition lawmakers to gain enough parliamentary seats for a prospective Constitutional vote, Şentop said they will not be in search of transfers but will be “open to whoever wants to join the party.”

“We do not intend to play a trick on [the other three parties] at the panel. We stepped back during discussions of some articles for the sake of agreement. But in case of disagreement, the AKP has its own [Constitution] proposal,” Şentop said.

In further remarks, Şentop argued that popular support for a presidential system is escalating. “We are holding meetings to brief our party members about the presidential system. Popular support for the presidential system has recently increased to 45 percent from 30 percent,” Şentop said.