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Erdoğan approves constitutional reforms, referendum to be held on April 16

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President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has approved an 18-article constitutional reform package, which among other things introduces an executive presidency in Turkey.

The reform package will now be put to a referendum, likely on April 16, in accordance with a date to be selected by the Supreme Election Board (YSK).

The package was sent to Erdoğan for approval on Feb. 2 after it was approved by Parliament on Jan. 21, garnering a total of 339 votes.

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

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

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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