World Bulletin / News Desk
Speaking to Anadolu Agency, the deputy head of parliament’s Constitution Commission Friday hailed the proposed new charter as “the biggest democratic move in the history of our republic.”
On the other hand, in a press conference with fellow members of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), CHP Deputy Chair Bulent Tezcan claimed the new constitution would “wipe away the gains of a century-old democratic republic” and create a “tyrannical state."
Tezcan also alleged that in accepting the new charter, the Constitutional Court had signed onto a “fake” constitution and agreed to annul parliament.
But AK Party Deputy Chairman Oznur Calik also praised the new constitution.
"This government system is not a regime change, the name of the regime is the Republic of Turkey. It’s a republican regime and those who see change in the regime know the truth," she said at a Public Hospitals Association Consultation Meeting in Malatya Friday.
Mentioning how the proposed changes will face the full parliament in 2017, Calik added that the government plans to present the changes to the people in a referendum.
- Headed for referendum
Parliament’s Constitution Commission early Friday passed a bill on constitutional change that proposes a switch to a presidential system of governance.
The bill, submitted by the ruling AK Party’s 316 deputies, will be presented to parliament following its passage by the committee after nine days of debate.
It 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 amendments.
The AK Party and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) have struck an agreement over the changes which will help them bring the bill to a referendum.
Constitutional change – in particular, the call for a presidential system – has been on the political agenda since Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the former prime minister and AK Party leader, was elected Turkey's president in August 2014.
That election was the first time a Turkish president was directly chosen by popular vote.
In the current parliamentary model, the Turkish people vote for 550 members of parliament. The government is formed by minimum number of 276 lawmakers.
In the proposed presidential system, the electorate would vote for a person to form a government independently of parliament, with no need for a vote of confidence.