President Erdogan approves constitutional amendments for referendum

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has today, approved constitutional amendments that will bring drastic alterations to the country’s political system, including a shift to an executive presidential system from the current parliamentary system.

A referendum on the package is likely to take place on 16th April, in accordance with a date to be selected by the Supreme Election Board (YSK).

Turkey’s parliament sent the constitutional amendments for the president’s approval on 12th February, 12 days after it passed the parliament by exceeding the 330-vote threshold to bring it to a referendum.

The constitutional amendment brings a strongly factional presidential system that will abolish the role of prime minister and hold authority over the cabinet. The president will also will have the authority to issue decrees in effect of law, to appoint vice presidents and cabinets who can be outside the parliament and unelected, and to hold the title “head of state.” For the first time since the use of this term for Kenan Evren, Turkey’s former coup leader and seventh president, with the provisional article of the 1982 Constitution, the title “head of state” enters the constitution as an article.

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

The duties and authorities of the parliament are amended in the amendments, with its authority to supervise ministerial cabinet and ministers, as well as its authority to assign cabinet to issue decrees in effect of law, 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) is similarly altered, with its 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 and the undersecretary will be a permanent member. The seven remaining members will be elected by the parliamentary majority, which is likely to be the political party of the president.


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