MHP leader says Turkey must hold elections if constitutional amendments fail

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Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim (2n R) shakes hands with Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Leader Devlet Bahceli (2nd L) during a debate for a proposal for change in the constitution on January 10, 2017 at the Turkish parliament in Ankara. Turkey's parliament on January 9, 2017 began debating a controversial new draft constitution aimed at expanding the powers of the presidency under Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The new constitution, expected to be put to a referendum by the spring, would replace the basic law drawn up after Turkey's 1980 military coup.

ADEM ALTAN / AFP

Opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli said on Wednesday that Turkey’s legislature must be “renewed” if it fails to pass a constitutional amendment package that will bring an executive presidency and end the parliamentary system of governance in the country.

According to the pro-government Yeni Şafak daily, Bahçeli told reporters in Parliament that the high tensions seen during debates on the constitutional amendment must end and that Turkey must hold new elections if they fail to pass the amendment.

After a brawl between Justice and Development Party (AKP) and main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputies, Parliament on Wednesday night approved the third article of a constitutional amendment package that will change the system of governance in Turkey from a parliamentary to an executive one.

The amended article, passed with 341 votes in favor and 139 against, reduces the deputy candidacy age from 25 to 18 and also prohibits people who have links to the military from becoming candidates in parliamentary elections.

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