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Deputy PM asks party members to prepare for referendum on presidential system

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Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş told party members in Bursa on Wednesday that Turkey would soon hold a referendum on Turkey’s switch to an executive presidency and that they should be ready to ensure the ruling party’s desired result.

Speaking at an intra-party meeting in Bursa’s Orhangazi district on Wednesday, Kurtulmuş said the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) needs the support of at least 330 deputies in Parliament to hold a referendum, requiring the support of 13 deputies from the opposition since the AKP has only 317 seats.

By the grace of God, we will get it soon. Maybe even more. In any case, a referendum is to be held in the near future and God willing, this nation will effect a change to a presidential system,” Kurtulmuş said.

Underlining that there will not be any local or general elections in Turkey until 2019, Kurtulmuş said the AKP will also win the proposed referendum.

AKP Deputy Chairman Hayati Yazıcı said in October that a proposal on the presidential system will be brought to Parliament in January 2017 and that a referendum could be held as early as April.

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 Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and one independent in the Turkish Parliament.

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 switch 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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