Gov’t harmonizes six more laws in preparation for presidential system
Nuray Babacan - ANKARAThe ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has accelerated work to amend six different laws related to elections in a bid to harmonize existing legislation for the shift to an executive presidential system, which will fully go into effect after dual elections in 2019.
Because of the new system, terminology will also be amended, removing the terms “ruling party” and “main opposition” from all laws including the constitution. The parties elected to parliament will be referred to as “first, second or third party.” The duration of speeches, protocol line and election lines will all be changed according to this terminology.
The Justice Ministry is carrying out work to harmonize the political parties’ law, the law on basic provisions on elections, the parliamentary election law, the local election law, the presidential election law and the referendum law with the amended constitution. The changes are expected to be voted on and become law in the upcoming legislative term.
The shift to an executive presidential system was narrowly approved in a referendum in April.
According to the latest changes, every political party will only be able to nominate one candidate for the presidency. If a party’s candidate pulls out or dies before the election, that party will not be able to take part in the election as parties will not have the right to nominate a second candidate in this period.
Following presidential and parliamentary elections to be held in 2019, the presidential candidate will be able to hold campaigns with the political party that they are affiliated with. The candidate will then be able to use the party logo, emblem and flags, carry out the campaign with his/her party’s management, and use the party’s facilities.
A provision allowing independent candidates to stand for election upon the collection of 100,000 signatures will also be developed, creating a mechanism to avert repeated or fake signatures.
Also as part of the changes, the election period will be reduced to 60 days from 90 days. In extraordinary circumstances like death or resignation, the election period could be reduced to 45 days. If parliament votes to hold a snap election, it will decide on the election date, but if the president decides to hold a snap election the date will be left to the president’s decision.