Erdogan Turkey approves draft amendments giving president more power

Under the changes, the prime minister’s post will be abolished, while the president and vice president will have full executive powers.

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gestures as he delivers a speech on December 20, 2016 in Istanbul play

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gestures as he delivers a speech on December 20, 2016 in Istanbul

(AFP/File)
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A Turkish Parliamentary Commission on Friday, approved draft constitutional amendments that would introduce a new executive presidential system, giving President Recep Tayyip Erdogan more powers according to report.

The commission’s nod after nine days of debate paves the way for a vote in parliament and is supported by lawmakers from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).

Under the changes, the prime minister’s post will be abolished, while the president and vice president will have full executive powers.

The draft proposal allows the president to be a party member.

Erdogan had to nominally step aside as AKP leader after he was elected president in 2014, as the constitution designates the head of state as a non-partisan office.

The number of parliamentarians will increase from 550 to 600 and general elections will be held every five years, instead of four years, the report said.

It calls for the next parliamentary and presidential elections to take place on Nov. 3, 2019.

The centre-left CHP and the pro-Kurdish HDP are staunchly opposed to the proposed presidential system, fearing a “dictatorship’’ in Turkey.

The changes will be put to a referendum, which the government expects will be held in spring.

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