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AKP official says Turkey may hold referendum on executive presidency in April

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Justice and Development Party (AKP) Deputy Chairman Hayati Yazıcı has said his party may bring a proposal for the introduction of an executive presidency in Turkey to the floor of Parliament in January and that a referendum on the issue could be held in April.

Speaking to NTV on Wednesday, Yazıcı said the executive presidency could be introduced in a constitutional amendment package that would include 12 to 15 articles.

“The proposal [about a switch to an executive presidency] could be discussed in Parliament in January. A referendum could be held in April,” said Yazıcı.

Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli sparked a fresh debate over the introduction of an executive presidency in Turkey last week when he said there was a de facto situation in Turkey involving its method of governance and that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was acting like an executive president although his post is largely ceremonial. Bahçeli said the situation must be resolved.

The AKP, which has 317 deputies in Parliament, needs the support of at least 13 more deputies from opposition parties to take a constitutional amendment on a switch to an executive presidency to referendum. Currently, there are 133 deputies from the Republican People’s Party (CHP), 59 from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), 40 deputies from the MHP and one independent in the Turkish Parliament.

The CHP and the HDP are against a switch to an executive presidency.

The post of the president is largely ceremonial in Turkey; however, President Erdoğan has been acting as an executive president since his election to the top state post in August 2014. Erdoğan is a strong supporter of a change to the presidential system. Yet, critics say Erdoğan wants a “Turkish style” executive presidency without checks and balances, one that is aimed at creating one-man rule.


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