BDP proposes regional presidential system in new constitution

The BDP's proposal also makes it obligatory to respect the nation's territorial integrity.

BDP proposes regional presidential system in new constitution

World Bulletin / News Desk

The pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) has submitted a proposal to a parliamentary commission working to draft Turkey's new constitution that includes plans to switch to a regional presidential system and establishment of a regional parliament, the Taraf daily reported on Tuesday.

The party submitted its proposal to the parliamentary Constitutional Reconciliation Commission on Feb. 8, the daily said.

According to the BDP's proposal, which is based on the establishment of autonomous regions with their own presidents, the borders of autonomous administrations will be determined by taking historical, cultural, sociological, geographical and economic factors into consideration. Members of regional parliaments will enjoy the same rights granted to members of the Turkish Parliament. They will also be able to make laws. Regional presidents will be elected by the public, and they will be endowed with executive powers.

The BDP's proposal also makes it obligatory to respect the nation's territorial integrity.

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) also favors a switch to a presidential system, but at the national level. In November the AK Party government submitted a proposal to the parliamentary Constitutional Reconciliation Commission to switch to a presidential system.

The adoption of a presidential system has been a common point of debate in Turkey with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, a firm supporter, who has frequently brought the issue to the public's attention over the past year. Many speculate that Erdoğan hopes to become Turkey's first president in the 2014 elections under a new presidential system as he can't run for prime minister again due to the AK Party's bylaws, which don't allow deputies to run more than three consecutive terms.

Headscarf-wearing women to be employed in government buildings

Media reports also stated on Tuesday that the AK Party and the BDP agreed on the inclusion of an article in the draft text of the new constitution which will make it possible for headscarf-wearing women to be employed in government buildings.

The AK Party and the BDP suggested that the only criterion for the employment of public personnel should be competence, while opposition parties the Republican People's Party (CHP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) said other criteria should be included in the new constitution concerning public employees.

Some constitutional experts say that if the only criterion for public employees is set as “competence,” this will make it possible for headscarf-wearing women to be employed in government buildings.

In the meantime, in televised remarks on Monday, Süheyl Batum, a professor of constitutional law and a member of the Constitutional Reconciliation Commission, said he would be very saddened if his daughter ever decides to wear a headscarf.

When asked how he would react, he said, “I would treat her in the same discriminative way I treat other headscarf-wearing women.”

Meanwhile, CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said in remarks published in the Milliyet daily on Tuesday that the new constitution cannot be drafted only by the AK Party and the BDP.

He said all the parties in Parliament should be involved in the process and that “the entire society should be embraced.”

Last Mod: 12 Şubat 2013, 18:00
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