Parliament approves article expanding executive powers of president

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

The Turkish Parliament on Friday passed three more articles of a constitutional amendment package, one of which significantly expands the powers of the president.

Articles 7,8 and 9 were approved on Friday with the “yes” votes cast by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).

Article 8 will allow the president to enjoy expanded executive power, turning the presidency into the most powerful institution in the country, as well as the ability to independently promulgate laws, in the process bypassing Parliament. Article 7 will allow the president to maintain official affiliation with a political party.

Meanwhile, a lectern that was broken during altercations among deputies was fixed today.

Several fights had taken place during the voting after main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputies objected to ruling AKP deputies showing their ballots to party officials, which is against parliamentary bylaws.

There has been strong opposition to the constitutional amendment package over fears of one-man rule in Turkey as it grants extended powers to the president.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has slammed opposition parties that object to the constitutional reform package seeking to introduce a presidential system in Turkey, saying on Thursday that they should “know their place.”

Among the objections to the changes, the former president of Turkey’s Supreme Court of Appeals (Yargıtay), Professor Sami Selçuk, wrote in an op-ed that the constitutional amendment package currently under debate in Parliament clearly aims to concentrate power in the person of the president and eliminate the separation of powers.

Penning an article for the Cumhuriyet daily on Monday, veteran jurist Selçuk said the proposed changes are even worse than the already antidemocratic 1982 Constitution, which was drafted under a military junta.

According to Selçuk, anyone who is literate can easily understand that the constitutional amendment would entrust all power to the president, close off the path to checks and balances and bring a concentration of powers in one person.

With the proposed changes submitted to Parliament by the ruling AKP and opposition MHP, the president will also be vested with the power to dissolve Parliament.

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