President Erdoğan says vote aims for ‘strong parliament’
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who is standing for re-election on June 24, has appealed to voters for a “strong government” supported by a majority of deputies in parliament.
“Our slogan is ‘strong government.’ If we are talking about a strong government, then you are going to create a strong government with a powerful parliament, so the number is very important in this respect. I specially request from my people: If you want a stronger president, we also need a stronger parliament,” Erdoğan said in an interview with broadcaster Habertürk.
“First of all, [the number of AK Party lawmakers in parliament] must be over 300, not a knife-edge [majority] but it should be significantly over 300,” he said, adding that the “People’s Alliance” formed by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) would help them get a majority of 600 seats in parliament.
In the controversial April 2017 referendum, marred by allegations of fraud, Turkish voters narrowly approved the switch from a parliamentary system to an executive presidential system granting almost all executive authority to the president.
Erdoğan also said he plans to reduce the number of ministries to fewer than 20 and to appoint “one or two vice” presidents.
If he wins the June 24 election, Erdoğan would be Turkey’s first leader under the presidential system, doing away with the prime minister’s post among other changes. Erdoğan has served as president since 2014. Before that, he served as prime minister from 2003 to 2014.
“Unfortunately we have paid high costs because of the shackles that prevented us from doing our jobs and obstacles created by the bureaucratic oligarchy ... Unfortunately we are late because of the bureaucratic oligarchy,” said Erdoğan, bemoaning “troubles” in the judiciary and the government.