Turkish MPs pass Article 17 of Constitution change

Lawmakers approve regulations on parliamentary and presidential elections

Turkish MPs pass Article 17 of Constitution change

World Bulletin / News Desk

Lawmakers on Sunday adopted article 17 of a new constitutional reform package that regulates parliamentary and presidential elections.

A total of 484 of 550 deputies participated the secret ballot session on Sunday evening at Parliament’s General Assembly.

The changes were approved by a total of 342 votes. The motion was rejected by 135 MPs, three voted blank, two were invalid and two abstained.

According to the Article 17, the parliamentary and the presidential election will be held in Nov. 3, 2019. Until the next election day, current deputies and president will remain in office.

One last amendment is slated to be voted on in the coming hours.

Lawmakers have so far passed regulations that define and lay out parliament’s responsibilities -- one of the most discussed items -- and the regulation of criminal liabilities for the president and top officials, as well as structural reforms to the nation’s highest judicial body.

Constitutional reform and the change to a presidential system has been on the political agenda since Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a former prime minister and Justice and Development (AK) Party leader, was elected president in August 2014. This marked the first time a Turkish president had been directly chosen by popular vote.

On Dec. 30, a constitutional committee of deputies from the ruling AK Party and the opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) submitted a proposed bill to parliament for ratification. Turkey's largest opposition party, the Republican People’s Party (CHP), and the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) remain opposed to the proposed changes.

If it passes parliament by 330 of 550 deputies, it will be voted on in a national referendum. If it obtains the support of 367 lawmakers, it can pass into law without referendum although Erdogan has said he would push for a referendum even if the draft is approved by the two-third majority.

Proposed changes to the constitution require a simple majority (51 percent). The AK Party has 316 seats and Erdogan hopes the support of the MHP, which has 39 seats, will secure a referendum.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 16 Ocak 2017, 01:26