World Bulletin / News Desk
Turkey will likely hold a constitutional referendum in early summer 2017, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said Thursday.
Speaking to reporters after a meeting with the leader of opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Devlet Bahceli in Ankara, Yildirim said that a referendum was possible early next summer "if everything goes well."
"The law is very clear. A referendum is expected within 60 days after the Parliament concludes the negotiations," he said.
Yildirim, who is also the head of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party said that the draft constitution would be submitted to the Turkish parliament the following week.
"The proposal, of course, will be a text that the MHP agrees upon or one that has been negotiated and agreed on,” he added.
The premier also said that the most important amendment to the constitution would concern the ties between a president-elect and his/her political party, which he said would continue.
The current constitution says a president should cut off ties with the political party he or she is associated with.
MHP leader Bahceli, for his part, said that the meeting was "positive," and a draft would soon be sent to parliament.
The government has long sought to replace the current parliamentary system with a presidential one, saying there are flaws in the set up, which also holds back Turkey’s development.
Last month, Yildirim said a committee within the AK Party had completed its work on a draft constitution that also included items for a presidential system.
The proposed changes would be put to a public referendum even if the government got the necessary votes in parliament to avoid the need for one, Yildirim had said.
The new constitutional draft needs 330 votes to pave the way for a referendum.
The AK Party, with 316 seats, and the MHP, with 40, both back the bill.Last Mod: 01 Aralık 2016, 18:21