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New Constitution in Turkey: Specially Prepared for Erdogan

EPA

The second and final round of voting for Turkey's constitutional reform package has begun. The first seven of 18 articles of the constitutional reform bill have already been passed, TRT World reports. After almost three weeks of parliamentary debate, the lawmakers are voting on each of the 18 articles as well as the whole reform package for one final time. The voting will continue today and tomorrow.

Further procedure assumes that if the entire package passes with at least 330 of 550 votes of the deputies, the new articles will be put for a vote in a national referendum, Anadolu News Agency explains. If the reforms obtain the support of 367 lawmakers, it can pass into law without a referendum. It should be reminded, that the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party has 316 seats and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) - which has so far supported the constitutional change - has 39 seats. It means that Erdogan has enough voices to be able to be put constitutional reform package for a vote in a national referendum.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said, that he would insist on putting the new Constitution to a national referendum, even if the draft is approved by a two-thirds majority. Proposed changes to the Constitution require a simple majority (51 percent) in the referendum. According to preliminary information, the constitutional reform package will be put to a referendum in early April, 2017.

The constitutional reforms or transition to a presidential system was one of the main issues of Erdogan’s agenda since he became the first directly elected Turkey's President in 2014. The constitutional reform package, which is currently being debated in the parliament, makes him the sole executive authority in the country. The package foresees creation of vice presidents and the abolition of the office of the prime minister, Al-Jazeera explains. There would no longer be a formal cabinet answerable to the parliament. The president will have the power to appoint and fire ministers. The president would be elected for a five-year term and will be allowed to serve as a leader of a political party that will give him a chance to control the parliament. The president also receives broad powers over the judiciary.

The whole logic of Turkey’s new Constitution derives from the claim that directly elected President has the right to bring together the legislative, executive and judicial power. While the independence of these three branches of power is considered to be the basis for a democratic state. It is not accidental that Erdogan pushes referendum, in order to show that the constitutional reform package got the direct approval of the population. The national support will become the main factor for Erdogan to justify his dictatorial ambitions.

 

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