AKP’s proposal to create strong presidential seat

AKP’s proposal to create strong presidential seat

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
AKP’s proposal to create strong presidential seat

The AKP has introduced its proposal on presidential system, Bozdağ. AA photo

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has officially introduced its proposal on a new presidential system in the first step of what is believed to be a bid to create a powerful presidential seat for Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in 2014.

The offer was submitted to the Parliament Speaker’s Office on Nov. 5 for discussion by Parliament’s Constitution Reconciliation Commission, Deputy Premier Bekir Bozdağ said yesterday.

Under the current system, the Turkish president is largely a ceremonial figure, but the AKP aims to create an executive presidency as part of a reform process focused around a new constitution.

Parliament’s Constitution Reconciliation Commission will gather today and debate the parties’ proposals regarding the chapter on legislation. The presidential system will help build political stability and powerful governing, Bozdağ said.

“That’s why we believe that it is right to pass to a presidential system which bears stability and which is able to build strong governing instead of wasting years of Turkey’s future with discussions,” Bozdağ said.

Erdoğan set a strict deadline for the Parliament’s Constitution Reconciliation Commission’s work on Oct. 2, saying a charter had to be drafted with opposition help by year’s end or the AKP would strike out to produce the charter alone. His remarks were seen as both interference and an imposition by the opposition parties.

Erdoğan is a firm supporter of switching to a presidential system before May 2014, when the country will go to the polls to vote for the first Turkish president elected by popular vote. Erdoğan is expected to run in the elections.

 Bozdağ also said the ministers would not be deputies but would be appointed by the president.

“The government will not need to get a vote of confidence from Parliament because things such as a vote of confidence, censure motions and parliamentary inquiry will not exist. The executive body will be directly checked by the people as the president will be authorized through elections,” he said.

Details of the draft

According to the proposal, the president and ministers will not be able to introduce draft laws. The draft laws adopted by Parliament can either be put into force or vetoed by the president.

The most important supervisory mechanism vis-à-vis the president will be through budget as the president will draft and introduce each year’s budget, while also asking Parliament for next year’s budget.

A new body similar to the Council of State (Yüce Divan) will be formed within Parliament as a body that can try the president. Parliamentary elections will also be held every five years, while the same person can be elected president for two consecutive terms.

Parliamentary immunity will be preserved while the number of parliamentary seats will remain 550. The AKP has proposed lowering the age of parliamentary candidates from 25 to 18. The only ritual concerning the presidency will be an oath-taking ceremony. As for the oath text for lawmakers, the AKP’s proposal eliminates the expressions “before the Turkish nation,” and “… that I will be loyal to
Atatürk’s principles and reforms.”

If the proposal is eventually adopted, the National Security Council (MGK), which gathers the civilian and military leaders of the country, will be eliminated. But a security mechanism that includes the president’s security advisors, the interior minister and the chief of the General Staff will be formed.