Turkish PM suggests president be tied to party

Turkish PM suggests president be tied to party

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkish PM suggests president be tied to party

Premier Erdoğan’s partisan presidential offer stirs debate over impartiality. DAILY NEWS photo

A simmering debate on a presidential system for Turkey has been rekindled following Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s suggestions that “a strong president whose ties with his party have not been cut” would be well-suited to Turkey.

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu criticized the proposal, saying such a discussion would be inappropriate amid the drafting of a new charter and added that Erdoğan’s suggestion also violated the principle of presidential impartiality.

 “The president’s impartiality is a principal [under the constitution]. A party member cannot be impartial,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.

Commenting on the issue late June 6 on private station ATV, Erdoğan said a president with ties to his political party would be stronger.

“In fact, the president is the chief of the executive body under our Constitution. This is because he appoints the prime minister and the Cabinet. The prime minister proposes the ministers, and the president approves them. A further step should be taken to get more successful results for our country; it could be either a presidential or a semi-presidential system,” he said.

Stressing that the president would be elected by popular vote with majority support, Erdoğan said the current system could lead to a “double-headed structure” at the top of the state.

“[The presidential system] can transform this double-headed structure into single-head, and the president can maintain his job at an advanced level within the control mechanisms,” Erdoğan said.
Also speaking on the issue yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ lent his support to Erdoğan’s proposal and said a debate on the issue would be fruitful.

“The presidential system is appropriate for a more democratic structure. The idea of a president who holds ties with his party is very important. If the president is elected by popular vote [in parliamentary regimes], this is called a semi-presidential system. A new debate on the issue would be useful,” Bozdağ told reporters.

Constitutional Court to have final word on Gül’s term

Meanwhile, the Constitutional Court will examine a rapporteur’s report on June 15 regarding the CHP’s appeal for the annulment of a law fixing President Abdullah Gül’s term in office at seven years and banning former presidents from running again for the post.

Gül said he did not wish to comment on the reports or on Erdoğan’s proposals.