Main opposition leader Kılıçdaroğlu says Turkey must hold snap election

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Kemal Kilicdaroglu, head of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), gives a speech during the parliamentary group meeting of his party at the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (TBMM) in Ankara, Turkey on January 17, 2017. AFP

After the Turkish Parliament approved a constitutional amendment package on Friday that significantly expands the president’s powers and brings an executive presidential system to the country, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) must call early elections as none of the political parties’ manifestos for the last election on Nov. 1, 2015 promised to introduce the presidential system.

Speaking with reporters at CHP headquarters in Ankara, Kılıçdaroğlu said Turkey must hold a snap election in which the parties can put forward their own constitutional amendment proposals.

In order to let society properly discuss the constitutional amendment and to avoid it being imposed on society [with a referendum], elections must be held first,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.

He also underlined that once a decision is taken for a snap election, parties can then present their constitutional amendment proposals to the public as none of the political parties included the presidential system in their declarations before the last election, including the AKP.

Late on Friday, Parliament approved a constitutional amendment package with 339 votes in favor and 142 against that will take Turkey to referendum in April, opening the way to a switch from the parliamentary system of governance to an executive presidency and also expanding President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s power.

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