There will no elections until 2019 but Turkey may hold a referendum on the presidential system, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim told an audience at the Turkish Exporters’ Assembly on November 16, trying to soothe concerns that a busy political agenda could consume the government’s energy when the economy is heading towards a slowdown.
The ruling AKP party plans limited amendments to the constitution that will only change the form of governance not the country’s entire regime, Yildirim said. If the AKP and the nationalist opposition party MHP agree on the constitution draft, the presidential system could be put to a referendum next year, probably in the spring.
This week, the AKP submitted its constitutional proposals to the MHP, which has signalled that it could support the government’s bid to change the country’s charter. Devlet Bahceli, the leader of the nationalists, said they will set up a commission with the AKP to discuss the proposed draft.
The AKP and MHP share similar views on several key issues, including the measures against the Gulenist network, the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) and the HDP, the third largest grouping in parliament that both the AKP and MHP see as the political arm of the PKK, as well as the military operations in Syria and Iraq. Because of these common views, a deal between the two parties on the constitutional changes looks more likely.
The AKP’s draft is composed of a total 29 articles, the Hurriyet Daily News reports. The proposal envisages the establishment of an executive presidency. The president will be elected for a maximum two terms of five years. According to the draft, the president will be able to appoint ministers from outside the parliament. Presidential election will be held in 2019 as planned.
The president will be able to appoint half of the members of the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK), as well as university rectors. The parliament may launch an investigation into the president with the votes of 367 MPs but will require at least 413 votes to send him to the Supreme Court for prosecution, the newspaper says.
The draft does not envisage the reintroduction of the death penalty, Hurriyet reports. The death penalty that the MHP says should be part of the constitutional changes is a thorny issue between Turkey and the EU. Brussels says the reinstatement of the capital punishment will mean the end of Turkey’s accession talks. The AKP is expected to present its proposal on the death penalty separately, according to the newspaper.
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