Parliament to start work on constitutional package Tuesday
by Daily Sabah
ANKARADec 16, 2016 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Daily Sabah
Dec 16, 2016 12:00 am
The Parliamentary Constitutional Commission will begin work on the constitutional amendment package on Dec. 20 to allow shifting Turkey's parliamentary system to a presidential one, parliamentary sources have said. A 21-article constitutional amendment package was submitted to the Parliament on Dec. 10, following an agreement between Turkey's two major political parties, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP). Parliamentary sources expected that commission works would be completed within this month and the General Assembly of the Turkish Parliament will start discussions on the proposed articles in the beginning of January.
The General Assembly will first discuss and vote on each article and eventually the whole constitutional amendment package will go through a parliamentary vote.
Discussions and the voting process at the General Assembly are expected to take between 15 to 20 working days. Each of these voting stages would require a minimum of 330 parliamentary votes.
Currently, the AK Party holds 316 seats in Parliament and needs the MHP's support, which has 39 seats, in order to take the constitutional amendments to a referendum, expected to take place in the spring of 2017.
Commenting on this issue, the head of the Parliamentary Constitutional Commission Prof. Dr. Mustafa Şentop told Reuters that a referendum by the end of March or early April seemed possible.
The proposed constitutional package includes articles to regulate switching to the presidential system. If the amendment package is brought in for a referendum and accepted by the public, the new system will abolish the prime ministry and the president will form the Cabinet.
If the proposal is passed in Parliament and voted for by the public in a referendum, Turkey will undergo a transitional period until 2019 when the new system will come into full effect. Moreover, during this period there will be no early elections and both the presidential and parliamentary elections will be held on the same day in 2019 and every five years thereafter.