Turkish gov’t planning to hold vote for presidential bid in April

Turkish gov’t planning to hold vote for presidential bid in April

Turkish gov’t planning to hold vote for presidential bid in April

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The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is planning to submit a constitutional draft that introduces a presidential political system in the coming weeks in order to take it to a referendum in April, AKP Deputy Chair Hayati Yazıcı has said. 

 “In the event that [the draft constitution] is approved at parliament in January, it will require the approval of the president. [A referendum] would then be likely to take place in April, in the light of previous experiences,” Yazıcı told private broadcaster NTV on Oct. 19. 

He noted that the AKP’s work on changing to an executive presidential system dates back to 2007 and the party will convene an in-house commission within days to finalize the constitutional text, adding that the draft will include 12 to 15 articles outlining the presidential model that the party will present to the public. 
The discussion on presidential system was revived after Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli suggested going to referendum to let the people decide whether Turkey should change its administrative model. The AKP, with 316 seats at parliament, needs the support of the 40-seat MHP to take any constitutional amendment to a referendum. 

“We will take inspiration from other countries’ implementation but we will formulate our own model in line with our own conditions,” Yazıcı said, referring to discussions on whether the AKP’s presidential model will resemble the “U.S. moder” or the “French model.”

‘All parties should discuss it’

Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş, meanwhile, has said the issue will be largely discussed in the coming days, calling on all parties to make their contribution to the process. 

“We believe this system will be better for the people but it’s the people who will make the final decision. We are of the opinion that even if parliament approves such an amendment, it should still be brought to the public opinion,” Kurtulmuş said.

He claimed that there were some “misunderstandings” about the presidential system, stressing that it would not bring about a “federal administrative system.” 

“Some argue that parliament will be removed as a presidential system will replace parliament. But there is no such thing. Parliament will exist and we will continue to have unitary system,” Kurtulmuş added. 

On the MHP’s stance, Kurtulmuş said he was confident that Bahçeli had “made his position clear” in his statements. 

“There is no need to look at the issue from the perspective of ‘What did the prime minister talk about with Bahçeli?’ This issue will not be discussed behind doors. Bahçeli simply says this issue needs to be resolved,” he said.