Official Gazette publishes referendum schedule

Official Gazette publishes referendum schedule

Official Gazette publishes referendum schedule

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Turkey’s Supreme Election Board has announced the official schedule for the upcoming referendum on a government-proposed switch to an executive presidential system from the current parliamentary system.      

According to the Official Gazette published on Feb. 13, the public campaign for the April 16 referendum will kick off Feb. 16 and will continue through April 15.        

Turkish citizens living abroad will be able to vote between March 27 and April 9, according to the gazette.        
Constitutional reform has been discussed since then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was voted president in August 2014.        

An 18-article bill was passed by parliament in January, with 339 votes in favor – nine more than needed to put the proposals to a referendum.        

The proposals are set to hand wide-ranging executive powers to the president, such as the power to appoint ministers, and greater control over the judiciary. It also abolishes the post of prime minister, and the president will be able to retain ties to a political party.        

The reforms envisage the elimination of parliament’s power to question ministers or stage a no-confidence vote in the government. The minimum age for parliamentary candidates is also set to be reduced to 18, while the amendments propose raising the number of deputies to 600. If approved, simultaneous parliamentary and presidential elections for a five-year term will be held in November 2019.