Date set for referendum on executive presidency in Turkey

A referendum on changes to Turkey’s constitution will be held on 16th April, Turkey’s Supreme Election Board has announced.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan approved constitutional amendments on 10th February that will bring radical changes to to the current parliamentary system, shifting it to an executive presidency.

President Erdogan approved the amendments eight days after they were passed by parliament by more than the 330-vote threshold needed to send it to a referendum for final approval.

The constitutional amendments will give great power to the president, and abolish the role of prime minister. The president will have the authority to issue decrees, appoint vice presidents and cabinet members from outside the parliament and hold the title ‘head of state,’ which will enter the constitution as a term for the first time since it was used for Kenan Evren, Turkey’s former coup leader and seventh president, as part of a provisional article in the 1982 Constitution.

The president will also be given the authority to annul parliament and declare an election, while he will also have the authority to declare a state of emergency, during which he will have the authority to issue decrees without any restriction of jurisdiction.

Duties and authorities of the parliament will be amended in the amendments, with its authority to supervise ministerial cabinet and ministers, as well as its authority to assign cabinet members, being abolished. Lawmakers will only be able to supervise ministers and the government with written statements, since the motion of interpolation will also be abolished.

The configuration of the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) will similarly be altered, with the number of members reduced from 22 to 13. Out of 13 members, four will be appointed by the president, while the justice minister – who will be appointed by the president – will be the chair of the board, while the undersecretary will be a permanent member. The seven remaining members will be elected by the parliamentary majority, which will likely be the political party of the president.


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