MHP, AKP reach agreement on constitutional amendment

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Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim (R) shakes hands with Turkey's opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli (L) following a meeting at Cankaya Palace in Ankara, to find a deal on a new constitution as desired by the Turkish president. / AFP PHOTO

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) on Thursday agreed on a constitutional amendment to expand President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s power, with a draft expected to be presented to Parliament next week.

The agreement was announced following a meeting between MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli and Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım at Çankaya Palace.

“The talks with Prime Minister Yıldırım on the constitutional amendment were positive. A draft will soon be presented to Parliament,” Bahçeli said during a joint press conference after the meeting.

“The talks with the MHP on a change to the constitution have reached fruition. We will present our draft bill to Parliament next week,” added Yıldırım.

“Then the ball will be in Parliament’s court. In order to take the package to referendum, there must be more than 330 votes of support in Parliament. Then our nation will decide in the referendum,” added Yıldırım.

Yıldırım summarized the essence of the reform as “adopting into the constitution the de facto situation that emerged following the popular election of the president in accordance with a 2007 reform.”

Upon questions Yıldırım underlined that the president will continue his relationship with the party.

The prime minister also noted that the amendment package must be taken to referendum within 60 days following the vote in Parliament.

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