Bozdağ: Partisan president is nothing new

Bozdağ: Partisan president is nothing new

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Bozdağ: Partisan president is nothing new

President Abdullah Gül. DAILY NEWS photo

As Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has underlined the significance of the next presidential elections for his party, ongoing work by his inner circle for a more powerful president has taken a more concrete shape.

Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ, a key architect of several judicial reforms carried out by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) said yesterday that Article 101 of the current Constitution was first introduced within the 1961 constitution. “The president-elect, if a member of a party, shall sever his relations with his party and his status as a member of the Turkish Grand National Assembly shall cease,” Article 101 reads.

Turkey has actually had partisan presidents in the past, Bozdağ said. “Mr. [main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal] Kılıçdaroğlu and some other people object to a partisan-president system but if they look at our constitution from 1924, they will see that there is no clause for the president to cut party ties after election. What is the situation according to this? [Mustafa Kemal] Atatürk was a partisan president [from the CHP]; [İsmet] İnönü was a partisan president [from the CHP]. At the same time Celal Bayar was partisan president [from the Democrat Party].”

AKP’s proposal

“The partisan-president system was in practice as the de facto situation under the presidency of Atatürk, İnönü and Bayar. There are discussions as if it never happened. This is wrong.” He added that having a partisan president again would not necessarily obligate a systemic change. “There is no clause that bans partisan presidents within the 1924 constitution. Therefore presidents in former terms were able to use the title of the president of the Republic of Turkey while their relations with their party continued.”

The AKP has prepared its proposal for a constitutional clause it will present to Parliament in the coming days. “We will put our proposal on the agenda of the Parliamentary Constitution Conciliation Commission when the relevant article is written,” Ahmet İyimaya, an AKP member of the commission, told the Hürriyet Daily News yesterday.

If they cannot achieve unanimity in the commission over their proposal for a presidential system, the AKP will bring up the proposal for a partisan president, he said. A partisan-president system could be enacted by suspending the relevant article, he also said.