Turkish Parliament approve more articles of constitutional reform bill

January 13, 2017 4:30 am

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim (C) and lawmakers vote on a constitutional reform package at the Turkish Parliament in the capital Ankara, January 12, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

The Turkish Parliament has approved more articles of a constitutional reform package backed by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that would accord unprecedented executive powers to the head of state.
The legislators voted ‘Yes’ to three more out of the 18 articles of the package on Friday. They had started debating the package on Monday, and had so far approved its first two articles.
Fists began to fly on Thursday as the discussions heated up.
The debate is expected to take less than 10 more days. Upon potential approval by the lawmakers, it would be put to referendum.
The package will throw out the country’s parliamentary system, introducing a presidential one.
Under the new mechanism, Erdogan would be allowed to serve two five-year tenures. With the exception of his current mandate, he could thus be leading the country until 2029, with the next elections being scheduled for 2019.
He would also be empowered to appoint and dismiss officials at will and abolish the position of prime minister.
The statesman would also be able to return to the leadership of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), which he himself has founded.
The AKP has only 316 deputies eligible to vote on the bill, which needs 330 ‘Yes’ votes at every parliamentary hurdle. The party, therefore, relies on its allies from the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) in advancing the proposed legislation.
The proposed reform package has been met with strong opposition from the Turkish legislature’s second- and third-biggest parties, the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP).
Critics say such changes to the constitution lead to totalitarianism as it places too much power in the hands of the president.
Earlier this week, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the CHP, leader said the legislators who ratify the bill will be betraying the public, adding, “I call out to all citizens. If you respect what is right, you will oppose this constitution.”
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