Erdoğan says 335 seats enough, not 400

Erdoğan says 335 seats enough, not 400

Verda Özer ANKARA
Erdoğan says 335 seats enough, not 400

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said 335 members of parliament from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) would be sufficient, decreasing his demand for 400 MPs for the June 7 elections.

“My wish is to reach a majority in the parliament in the June 7 elections which will be enough to make a new constitution and a new Turkey. I have announced [the number of seats necessary to accomplish] this as 400. If the [AKP cannot get] 400 MPs, but gets 335 MPs, then it will have an opportunity to go to a referendum. The opportunity to get enough votes to demand a referendum would be a positive development because we have seen this in our Gallup polls,” Erdoğan told a group of reporters returning from Iran to Turkey.

Erdoğan previously insisted that the existing parliamentary system should be replaced by a presidential system, and demanded “400 lawmakers” in the June 7 general election to make this change possible. With 335 members in parliament, the AKP will be able to take the presidential system to a referendum. The AKP, however, needs to secure at least 367 seats to change the constitution in the elections unilaterally.

Meanwhile, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said April 9 that the president would decrease his demand for seats more in the future.

“It will decrease more. [He previously demanded] 400 seats, now he decreased it, but this will decrease more,” Kılıdçaroğlu told reporters in Ankara when asked about Erdoğan’s remarks.

Kılıçdaroğlu also criticized Erdoğan for directly or indirectly supporting the AKP, saying this did not comply with his presidential oath.