Turkey’s main opposition disputes constitutional bill

By Seval Guler


Turkey’s main opposition party Monday advanced arguments against the major constitutional change package submitted to parliament by the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party.

The Republican People’s Party (CHP) made the arguments in a 24-page statement appended to the parliamentary commission report on the bill package, which is set to reach the full parliament soon.

The bill proposing a set of constitutional changes, including a switch to a presidential system of governance, is backed by the ruling AK Party and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), while the CHP has come out against it.

In its statement, the CHP claimed that the amendment in fact does not aim to change the governmental system, but to change the main mechanism of the democratic Republic of Turkey.

“The new changes aims to gather all power in a single person,” the opposition said, alleging it aims at the monopolization of executive power as well as in the state system.

It ignores checks and balances, the party further claimed.

The party also claimed that all executive power would be under the control of the president as the changes allow him to control parliament.

Under the bill, the new constitution would give executive power to the president and vice presidents while abolishing the post of prime minister, lower the age of candidacy for parliament from 25 to 18, and increase the number of MPs from 550 to 600 in line with Turkey’s growing population, among other changes.

The main opposition claimed the changes would violate Turkey’s constitution and stymie Turkey’s democratization.

The AK Party has sought to introduce a presidential system to replace the current parliamentary model since Recep Tayyip Erdogan became president in August 2014.

The new constitutional bill needs 330 votes to pave the way for a referendum.

The AK Party, with 316 seats, and the MHP, with 40, both back the bill.

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