Constitutional reform aims at stability, not regime change, PM Yıldırım says

Published 22.12.2016 23:25
Updated 22.12.2016 23:26

As debates over the 21-article constitutional amendment package continue in Parliament in the Constitution Committee, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said yesterday that the amendment bill will not change the government nor will it create a political regime, saying: "The debates for regime change ended in 1923 when the Republic of Turkey was formed. Now, we are talking about changes to the governmental system that will fulfill the needs of our country. This system will be a presidential system that will be based on stability," Yıldırım said at the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) headquarters in the capital Ankara.

Stressing that the current system cannot provide permanent stability in Turkey, Prime Minister Yıldırım said that the majority of the Turkish people have expectations to see the end of discussions about changing the governmental system, saying: "Politics involve solving problems, not creating new ones. As the AK Party, we have continued on our path by solving problems and we will solve this [instability] as well."

Noting that the new system will abolish the Prime Ministry, Yıldırım said that there will be a president and the president's ministerial board will work in tandem with Parliament. Highlighting that the presidential election system will be similar to municipal elections in which voters elect the mayor and the municipal council, Yıldırım criticized the Republican People's Party (CHP) leader for instilling unnecessary fear in the eyes of the people by portraying the new system as a regime, asserting that "In the new system, the people will choose both the president and the members of Parliament on one day and in one election. If none of the political parties or presidential candidates receive less than 50 percent of the votes then the election will be renewed in two weeks' time; thus there is no room for instability in the new system," he added.

Emphasizing that both legislative and administrative power will be chosen by the public under the new system, Yıldırım also underlined that neither of these powers have superiority over the other. He said, "The presidential system means absolute authority of a single entity. It means a strong political power. There are no coalitions under this presidential system."

Yıldırım also stated that the new system provides a solution for the systemic problems that may occur when there are disagreements between the president and Parliament. "If there is a disagreement between the president and Parliament, the new system gives the right to renew the election to the president. So, either both the president and Parliament will be renewed in the elections or they will reach a compromise to continue. Thus, in both scenarios, the new system will not cause a crisis," he added.

"Unlike the current system, the president is not absolved of his responsibilities in the proposed system. In the new system, all lawmakers can face parliamentary prosecution and can even be put on trial in the Supreme Court," Yıldırım added.

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