Turkey’s ruling party completes proposal on presidency: PM

Turkey’s ruling party completes proposal on presidency: PM

Turkey’s ruling party completes proposal on presidency: PM

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The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has finalized preparations for a draft of a constitutional amendment, which will change the country’s parliamentary system to an executive presidency, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said on Oct. 23. 
“We have finalized our work on both the new constitution and on the presidential [system]. We have made sufficient discussions both in parliament and by the public. We’ll bring our proposal to parliament as soon as possible,” Yıldırım said addressing the deputies in his closing speech at the AKP camp. 

The government will go to a popular referendum on whether the parliament should adopt new charter draft with 367 votes or agrees to go for public opinion on 330 votes, he said. 

So that Turkey will end “system debate and use its energy for its future,” Yıldırım said. 

Members of the AKP met in the western province of Afyon last weekend, with focusing mostly on work related to the proposed executive presidency. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has long sought a presidency that has greater executive power. 

Turkey’s presidential term will be five years in a new planned constitution, Yıldırım said during a televised interview on Oct. 22.

He praised the leader of Turkey’s opposition the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Devlet Bahçeli for his support of a referendum on a proposed presidential system.        

“Mr. Devlet Bahçeli sometimes makes this kind of breakthrough. This breakthrough opens every time the doors for the solution of a country’s issues become an insolvable issue.” Yıldırım said.   

The prime minister also commented on the parliamentary election in the new constitution, saying deputies could also be elected to five-year terms.  “We have not gone into the content, but we think that the parliamentary elections should be for five-year terms,” he said.    

Yıldırım formed a team of deputies and ministers to work on the charter amendment with. The team informed the AKP about the process and details. 

After the consultation camp in Afyon, the charter will be introduced to two of the opposition parties in parliament, the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), as the AKP has refused to work with the third largest party in parliament, the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP). 

After the bilateral discussions with the two opposition parties, AKP will submit the draft to parliament. The AKP officials have indicated that the party anticipates a referendum on the draft in April following an approval in parliament set to be done in January.

The draft will include 12 to 15 articles outlining the presidential model that the party will present to the public. 

Constitutional change, in particular, the call for a presidential system, has been on the political agenda since President Erdoğan, the former prime minister, was elected as Turkey’s president in August 2014.

The 2014 election was the first time a Turkish president was directly chosen by popular vote.

The discussion on the presidential system was revived after Bahçeli suggested going to a referendum, to let the people decide if Turkey should change its administrative model. 

Changing to a presidential system is opposed by Turkey’s two other parliamentary parties, CHP and HDP, and the AKP lacks the super-majority in parliament needed to make the change without submitting it to a referendum.

The AKP, with 316 seats in parliament, needs the support of the 40-seat MHP to take any constitutional amendment to a referendum.