Turkey to see 18 articles put to vote in referendum

Article reform bill seeks to change current parliamentary system to a presidential one

Turkey to see 18 articles put to vote in referendum

World Bulletin / News Desk

Turkish people will head to the polls on Sunday to vote on the proposed change to a presidential system to replace the parliamentary democracy, with 18 articles proposed to be amended in the constitution.

With less than one day left for the historic referendum that will determine the country's future system of government, the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party says the presidential system will make Turkey a more stable country; both politically and economically.

The Yes campaign is also backed by the opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), whereas the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) remains opposed to the proposed changes to the current constitution which was adopted in 1983 following a military coup in 1980.

The constitutional changes have been discussed since Erdogan was voted 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.

The reforms 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.

Proposed amendments 

There are in total 18 articles in the proposed package which gives the executive power to the president and vice presidents while abolishing the post of prime minister.

Amendment to Article 9 of the Constitution would change "the judicial power shall be exercised by independent courts on behalf of the Turkish Nation" – to read "independent and impartial courts".

 The second proposal concerns Article 75 which says "The Grand National Assembly of Turkey shall be composed of five hundred and fifty deputies elected by universal suffrage." The number of deputies would increase to 600 if the Yes vote prevails.

The third proposal concerns Article 76 which states the age of candidacy for parliament. The package seeks to lower the age from 25 to 18, in addition to lifting the condition of having completed compulsory military service. Those with relations to the military would be ineligible to run as an MP.

According to Article 77, "Elections for the Grand National Assembly of Turkey shall be held every four years." A Yes vote would extend the election term to five. Parliamentary and presidential elections -- each five-year terms -- would be held on the same day, with presidential elections going to a run-off unless a candidate wins a simple majority in the first round.

Article 87 of the Constitution outlines the duties and powers of the parliament, which are "to enact, amend, and repeal laws; to scrutinize the Council of Ministers and the ministers; to authorize the Council of Ministers; to issue decrees having the force of law on certain matters; to debate and adopt the budget bills and final accounts bills; to decide to issue currency and declare war; to approve the ratification of international treaties, to decide with the majority of three-fifths of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey to proclaim amnesty and pardon; and to exercise the powers and carry out the duties envisaged in the other articles of the Constitution."

The package seeks to end the parliament's authorization to inspect the cabinet and the ministers. It also lifts the practice of the veto of confidence and censure. The vote of confidence would be given by the people through elections. 

Proposed change to Article 89 states that to overcome a presidential veto, the parliament would need to approve the same bill with an absolute majority.

Article 98 regulates the parliament's supervisory power. Supervision by the parliament would be implemented through parliamentary inquiry, general debate and written inquiry. Parliamentary inquiry into the president and cabinet members would be broadened. It would also be obligatory to answer any written inquiry within 15 days.

Article 101 deals with the terms of presidential candidacy.  Proposed amendments expand and facilitate nomination conditions for all parties. The president would serve a five-year term and could be re-elected once. The measure also removes the provision that restricts the president’s ability to maintain ties with a political party. Citizens would be able to nominate a presidential candidate provided that s/he gets at least 100,000 signatures.

Article 104, which regulates the president's duties and powers, would be changed to allow "the head of the state" executive power to appoint and dismiss ministers. Dual leadership is abolished, with the powers of president and prime minister integrated. The president is given the right to issue a presidential decree. 

Next amendment concerns Article 105 which is about presidential accountability and non-accountability. The package stipulates that the president is no longer non-accountable, and might be investigated and referred to the Supreme Court if necessary. A president who undergoes an investigation could not decide to hold an early election. If convicted by the Supreme Court, the president's term would be terminated.

Proposed changes to Article 106 stipulate that the government is formed by the president, who can appoint one or more vice presidents, who may be investigated and put on trial if necessary. 

Article 116 is about the renewal of parliamentary elections. Under the proposed amendment, both the president and three-fifths of the parliament can decide to renew elections. 

Article 119 regulates the declaration of state of emergency. The package requires that such a declaration by the president will now be subject to parliamentary approval. The parliament would be given the authority to extend, curtail or lift a state of emergency. Every presidential decree issued during this time would also need the approval of the parliament.

Article 142, which concerns formation of courts, is also subject to change. Under the proposed package, military courts are completely abolished except for disciplinary ones. 

   Article 159 concerns the High Council of Judges and Prosecutors. The package seeks to remove the word "High" from the name of the body. The number of members would go down to 13 from 22, while the chambers would be reduced to two from three.

Proposed changes to Article 161 would grant the power of drafting and submitting the budget bill to the president. The president's power of proposing legislation would be limited to the budget law, which would be debated and finalized in parliament.

Other changes would grant the power of introducing bills to MPs only. The armed forces would be included into the jurisdiction of the State Supervisory Council, while the presidential decrees would be under the supervision of constitutional jurisdiction. Martial law would also be abolished.




Güncelleme Tarihi: 15 Nisan 2017, 17:16