Erdoğan urges debate on ‘French-like’ presidential system

Erdoğan urges debate on ‘French-like’ presidential system

Verda Özer
Erdoğan urges debate on ‘French-like’ presidential system

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses a meeting in Ankara, Turkey, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015.(Yasin Bulbul, Presidential Press Service, Pool via AP)

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has again said Turkey’s parliamentary system should be changed to a presidential one, referring to France’s semi-presidential system as a good example for the country. 

“When a party-member presidential system is on the table, then it would be a different version of France’s system. That would bring a different strength too,” Erdoğan told reporters onboard a plane returning to Turkey from Qatar on Dec. 3. 

Responding to a question on the possibility of a system where the president was elected from the ranks of a political party, he said this could be a solution if no other amendment can be achieved. 

Erdoğan also said the country’s “dual-headed system” of rule has to be removed, referring to the powers currently held by the president and the prime minister who were both elected to their positions by the public. 

“We must remove this duality. Otherwise, regardless of how much you like each other or how long you have worked together in the past, there may be problems,” he said. 

He also said that any amendment to the system should be voted on in a referendum.

Recalling that the recently elected government’s announced program included transforming the parliamentary system into a presidential one, Erdoğan said the government did not have the power to realize that transition without the support of opposition parties.

“This can be done with the support of other parties in the parliament or through an amendment of the constitution in a referendum. A constitutional amendment can be made in this respect, but it would have to be voted on in a referendum,” he said.

According to the current constitution, if a constitutional amendment is passed with over 330 votes in the 550-seat parliament, a referendum is necessary to approve the change.

Erdoğan, who in August 2014 became Turkey’s first president to be elected through a direct vote, has long advocated a switch to a “Turkish-style” presidential system and pressed the government to prioritize this system change.