Will the president be accountable?

Will the president be accountable?

After the meeting with Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli, the process about the presidential system has started.

The two parties will work on it, then the leaders will meet again. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was optimistic; he said, “I see the full side of the glass.” Ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and MHP will not submit a joint draft. The proposal will have AK Party’s signature but it will reflect both parties’ wills. 

While I was explaining the general essentials of the constitutional amendment prepared by the AK Party, I had left out the “checks and balances” leg. Before anything else, since there will be a joint review of the draft, this is not the final text. 

Budgeting authority will be the parliament. However, the president will prepare the budget and submit it to the parliament. In the U.S., when Obama’s budget was not approved for a while, a problem occurred. What will the president do here, if our parliament does not approve the budget? A solution is trying to be found to this problem. 

The president will be able to veto the laws issued by the parliament. When a vetoed law is wished to be processed again, then qualified majority will be required. 

Cabinet ministers will be appointed by the president; there will not be a separate parliament vote required. Motions of censure will not be able to be tabled against cabinet ministers. Well then, how the president be accountable? Will the president be tried? The president will be able to be taken to court, not because of political liabilities but because of criminal liabilities. A similar proposal that AK Party had submitted to the parliament’s now dissolved Constitution Conciliation Committee is being processed.   

The president could be indicted with the votes of 367 deputies of today’s 550-seat parliament. If accepted, an investigation commission will be formed. The commission will work for two months; it will be made up of 15 members and each party will allocate deputies according to the seat distribution. If the opinion is reached that the president has committed a crime, he/she will be referred to the Supreme Council with three fourths of the votes. This figure corresponds to 413 deputies. The Supreme Council will again be assumed by the Constitutional Court. If the Supreme Council finds the president guilty, his/her presidency will end and he/she will go to jail.  

What will happen in this case? Will there be elections held? No, the vice-president will complete the remaining term.  

Because there is the requirement of dual elections, in the case the president goes to jail, if presidential elections are held, then general elections should also be held; for this reason the election option was not required. 

The president will not have the unilateral power to abolish the parliament. A mutual termination power is introduced. In the case of mutual termination, presidential and parliamentary elections are held on the same date. 

For the annulment of decrees issued by the president, both the ruling party and opposition parties are able to appeal. 

The president will not be able to issue decrees on fundamental rights and freedoms. He/she will be able issue decrees on his/her executive field. If the parliament issues a law on the same subject, the president’s decree will become null.

The parliament will be stronger in terms of control. 

1- In the current situation, the parliament enacts the draft laws submitted by the government. In the presidential system, the ministers will not have the power to submit bills to the parliament. 

2- Deputies will not have worries for how it would be met if they changed the bill submitted by the government. 

3- The parliamentary commissions will be more active. The parliament will concentrate on legislation activities.
However, ambassador and governor appointments will be done by the president. In the US system, a parliamentary approval is required, but this is not considered here.  

A new era will start where there will be no coalitions and when stability will prevail. Of course accountability, the indispensable condition of democracy is also important.