Kılıçdaroğlu conveys ‘concerns’ to Bahçeli over constitutional reform package

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Leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu on Wednesday visited Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli to express his concerns about a constitutional reform package that seeks to introduce an executive presidency in Turkey.

The meeting took place just before a second round of votes on the reform package began in Parliament. The first round was held last week.

Speaking to reporters following the meeting, Kılıçdaroğlu said: “The MHP is a very important political party in the Turkish democracy. I personally had the need to have this meeting. I wanted to visit Mr. Chairman, he was kind to accept my request for a visit. I conveyed my concerns about the planned constitutional amendments.”

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), backed by the MHP, is pushing through legislation that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan says will bring the strong leadership needed to prevent a return of the fragile coalition governments of the past.

The CHP and pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) fear the reform will fuel authoritarianism.

The bill needs the support of at least 330 deputies in the 550-seat assembly to go to a referendum, expected in the spring. The AKP has 316 deputies eligible to vote and the MHP 39.

The reform will enable Erdoğan to appoint and dismiss government ministers, take back the leadership of the ruling party and govern until 2029.

The plans foresee presidential and general elections in 2019, with a maximum of two five-year terms.

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