Author : Hurriyet Dailynews

Posted  : November 15, 2016

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Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) officially delivered its draft for a new constitution to the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) on Nov. 15, days after the leaders of both parties agreed on the principles of changes that will pave the way for the adoption of a presidential system.

“The AKP’s constitutional draft text has been handed into us officially,” MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli said in an address to his party group in the parliament.

The MHP will scrutinize the text in detail, Bahçeli said, stressing that a commission composed of the two parties will finalize the draft “in line with his party’s sensitivities.”

“As a party, we are examining the text in a very meticulous, careful and detailed manner. We are outlining the articles that we approve or do not approve … We will conclude our work to submit the constitutional changes as soon as possible,” he added.

The draft includes a detailed amendment focused on solving the immediate problems in Turkish politics Bahçeli said. He recalled his previous criticism of the AKP for imposing a de facto presidential system by decree laws, which led him to propose bringing the constitutional draft to a public vote.

After examination of the draft, the constitutional amendment will be introduced to parliament’s Constitution Committee, Bahçeli added, calling on the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) to participate in the process.

“We are hoping to introduce the amendments we have agreed on in the Constitutional Committee to a parliamentary vote as soon as possible,” he said.

“The CHP should not be reluctant in this process,” Bahçeli said, recalling CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu’s recent expression of willingness to meet Prime Minister Yıldırım in order to discuss the text.

“Our door is always open,” Kılıçdaroğlu had said on Nov. 13, stressing that his party’s stance would not be decided before examining the text.

The CHP has repeatedly declared that it supports strengthening the parliamentary system and opposes any regime change introducing the executive presidential system.

“If their doors are open to the prime minister, if they say they would like to see the draft, then let’s come together and eliminate the de facto predicaments,” MHP head Bahçeli said.

The AKP have previously declared that it will only introduce its amendments to a parliamentary vote as soon as the government is sure that it has enough votes to pass the bill. The ruling party has 316 seats in parliament and needs 14 additional votes to bring the amendment to referendum, as any changes in the constitution require at least 330 votes to bring it to a public vote.


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