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President Erdoğan, PM Yıldırım agree on April 9 for referendum

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım have agreed on April 9 for a referendum on a constitutional amendment package that significantly expands Erdoğan’s powers.

According to the Milliyet daily, Erdoğan and Yıldırım met after a Central Decision and Administration Board (MKYK) meeting of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) on Monday and agreed on the date.

Speaking during a meeting with AKP provincial chairmen in Ankara on Jan. 26, Yıldırım said the referendum could be held in the first half of April if Erdoğan approves the amendment package.

Erdoğan is expected to approve the package this week.

According to the constitution, the referendum must be held on the first Sunday that falls 60 days after a notification is published in the Official Gazette following the president’s approval.

There has been strong opposition to the constitutional amendments over fears of one-man rule in Turkey as it grants extended powers to the president, and Parliament has recently been the scene of altercations between AKP and main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputies.

During debates on articles of the package in the last two weeks, deliberations on the proposed amendments have given way to brawls among parliamentarians as the constitutional amendment package, which expands the president’s power significantly and brings an executive presidential system to the country, is highly controversial.

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

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