Hot on the heels of Prime Minister and longtime henchman Ahmet Davutoglu’s resignation, Turkey’s president has urged the holding of a national referendum on the introduction of a presidential system to replace the current parliamentary one in the country.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for the referendum on Friday, a day after the premier’s resignation.
In order to flip the country’s ruling system, Turkey needs to make changes to its constitution, which itself requires popular approval.
“In order to be strong, we need to rapidly present a presidential system which is the guarantee of stability and trust to the approval of the people,” he said.
Observers say Erdogan may be incrementally accumulating power in his own hands, especially as he indirectly forced out Davutoglu, an ally who, while faithfully following the president’s line, introduced nuances of his own in running the country nevertheless.
Erdogan has been haranguing in favor of a presidential system based on the claim that the country cannot be run by two strongmen.
“A car that has two drivers cannot go without an accident. It will inevitably have an accident,” Ismail Kahraman, the speaker of the Grand National Assembly (Turkish parliament), who is an Erdogan ally, recently said in description of the bid for a presidential system.
Davutoglu had, however, asserted that such a system would eat away at his sphere of authority. On Thursday, he said he would resign from heading the ruling AKP party and premiership when a special congress session is held on May 22 to pick another person.
The party had already stripped the premier late last month of the power to elect provincial party officials, dealing a body blow to his political leeway.