Charter changes to be limited to presidency: Deputy PM Kurtulmuş

Charter changes to be limited to presidency: Deputy PM Kurtulmuş

Charter changes to be limited to presidency: Deputy PM Kurtulmuş The government is nearing completion on a limited constitutional amendment that will usher in an executive presidential system, Deputy PM Numan Kurtulmuş has said, adding that the text will be introduced to parliament as soon as the government is sure it has enough votes to pass the bill.

“We have postponed making a comprehensive constitutional change to another time. The subject that we have focused on is the constitutional change which will provide a basis for the transition to the presidential system,” he said Nov. 14.

“It will be brought to the parliamentary agenda as soon as we secure 330 votes,” Kurtulmuş said after a weekly cabinet meeting.

Kurtulmuş’s statement came days after leaders of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) agreed on principles over the constitutional change for the adoption of the constitutional change. 

He also responded positively to Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu’s call to the ruling party to discuss the draft. “[We would like] the CHP [to] be a part of the meetings. Our doors are also open. If they would like to take part in the new constitution processes, they can bring all their remarks; we will negotiate,” he said.

“We would like the CHP to contribute; we hope they will be open to a discussion,” he added.

Kılıçdaroğlu commented earlier that his party wished to see the draft to decide on its stance, adding that the CHP was willing to discuss the draft with Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım on Nov. 13.

“Our door is always open. We have never closed our door to anybody. [If] they come, we will share our opinion,” he said, adding that the CHP wanted to see a strengthened parliamentary system instead of a presidential system.

No meetings scheduled with opposition leaders

Kurtulmuş stated that there was no official meeting planned with Kılıçdaroğlu or Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli yet, saying providing a date for the negotiation process would not be appropriate.
Kurtulmuş also said the AKP was planning to bring the constitutional change to a public vote even if the draft is passed by parliament with a qualitative majority.

“Even if we secure 367 votes, we will go to the public. It is clear that between 330 and 367 votes, the draft goes to a referendum. Our stance is to ask this to the public if parliament approves it,” he said.

With 316 seats in parliament, the AKP is at least 14 votes short of introducing a constitutional amendment, as any charter change requires the support of at least 330 votes in order to take it to a referendum. However, if the party secures 367 votes, the constitution is approved by law without the need for a referendum.

‘A complete and strengthened presidency’

Kurtulmuş said the constitution they have been working on involves “a complete and strengthened presidency.”

“We foresee a system which can be checked and accounted for more. To name it this or that would not change its essence. We lay a weight on a complete and strengthened presidential model,” he said.