Constitutional referendum set for April 16: Turkish PM

Turkish nation to vote on major constitutional changes in the referendum

Constitutional referendum set for April 16: Turkish PM

World Bulletin / News Desk

Turkey will hold a referendum on key constitutional changes on April 16, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said on Friday.

His statement came shortly after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan approved the constitutional amendment package to shift Turkey’s existing parliamentary system to a presidential one.

“Our president has approved the bill. So the date for a public vote is fixed. The referendum will be held on April 16,” Yildirim told reports following his Friday prayers in the central Anatolian province of Nevsehir.

The constitutional changes have been discussed since Erdogan was elected president in August 2014. The 18-article bill was passed by parliament in January, with 339 votes in favor -- nine more than needed to put the proposal to a referendum.

Yildirim praised parliament’s approval of the bill, saying it had acted for the future of Turkey and its nation.

“Now, the word and the decision belong to the nation,” he added.

Asked how he thinks people will vote in the referendum, Yildirim said, “There will be many pollsters and predictors during this time. But the final poll is the outcome of the ballot boxes.”

The changes would hand wide-ranging executive powers to the president, and the post of prime minister would be abolished. The president would also be allowed to retain ties to a political party.

Other changes would see the minimum age for parliamentary candidates reduced to 18 and the number of deputies rise to 600. Simultaneous parliamentary and presidential elections for a five-year term would be held in November 2019 under the new constitution.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 10 Şubat 2017, 17:21