MHP leader promises PM Yıldırım support for new constitution

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Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim (L) meets with Turkey's Nationalist Movement Party's leader Devlet Bahceli (R) at Cankaya Palace in Ankara, Turkey on November 10, 2016.

Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli on Thursday promised Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım to support the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government when a draft constitution is submitted for parliamentary approval, including a switch to a presidential system of governance.

After a meeting with Yıldırım on Thursday, Bahçeli said Yıldırım’s proposal for a new constitution is reasonable and that the MHP has no option but to be a part of a resolution to resolve the problems in Turkey, the CNN Türk TV website reported.

CNN also reported that the AKP is expected to submit its draft for a new constitution in the next week.

A week ago Bahçeli met with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at the presidential palace in Ankara amid ongoing debates about the introduction of an executive presidency and the reinstatement of capital punishment in Turkey.

Their meeting lasted for an hour and was closed to the press. MHP sources said the invitation came from President Erdoğan.

The Erdoğan-Bahçeli meeting came at a time when Bahçeli sparked a fresh debate last month over the introduction of an executive presidency when he said there was a de facto situation in Turkey concerning its system of governance and that President Erdoğan was already acting like an executive president even though his post is largely ceremonial. Bahçeli said the situation needed to be resolved.

Bahçeli’s remarks were interpreted as supporting a switch to an executive presidency, and AKP government officials have said they will bring a proposal for a change to an executive presidency to Parliament in January and present it in a referendum in April.

Erdoğan is a strong supporter of an executive presidency.

Bahçeli also responded to a recent call from Erdoğan for the reinstatement of the death penalty and asked the government to join forces to bring back capital punishment.

Erdoğan said on Saturday that legislation to reinstate capital punishment, which was abolished in 2004, will soon be taken to Parliament by the AKP.

In response to Erdoğan, Bahçeli said on Tuesday: “If the AKP is ready [to bring the death penalty back], the MHP is already ready. I am telling Mr. Prime Minister, come on, let’s finish this job together. The MHP will do what is necessary if the proposal or draft on the death penalty comes to the parliament floor.”

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