Turkey’s ruling party launches campaign for constitutional change

  • Carolin Laubre
  • 2.3.2017 09:00

On 25 February, Turkey’s ruling party Justice and Development Party (AKP) formally launched a campaign for the 16 April constitutional referendum, aimed at replacing the current parliamentary system with a presidential one and abolishing the prime minister’s office and cabinet.

According to the new constitution the president would gain more executive powers, having authority over the high council of judges and prosecutors, and would be allowed to issue decrees. This would pave the way for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to stay in power until 2029, as his current term would not count under the new system. Prime Minister Binali Yildrim mentioned that the amendment would eliminate unstable coalition governments and linked the change to the fight against terror groups, including Kurdistan Workers’ Party and Fethullahist Terror Organization. The latter is connected to the Fethullah Gülen movement that the current administration accuses of orchestrating the 15 July putsch and has suspended more than 110,000 civil servants, academics, judges and police over suspected links to the movement. The Venice Commission, an advisory body of constitutional law experts that advises the Council of Europe, described the constitutional changes as “dramatic decline in democratic order” in German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung.

About author: Carolin Laubre

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