Presidential system proposal to stress importance of checks and balances
by Ali Ünal
Apr 06, 2015 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Ali Ünal
Apr 06, 2015 12:00 am
Despite the concern that the possible change from the current parliamentary system to a presidential system would bolster one-man rule as well as the dubiousness surrounding it, the ruling Justice and Development Party's (AK Party) proposed system, which clearly describes checks and balances and emphasizes decentralization of power, is expected to eliminate concerns.
The government discussed switching to the presidential system more often since Recep Tayyip Erdoğan became the first president elected by the public with a 52 percent landslide victory in the August 2014 election. In recent days, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu ruled out the claims that he is not in favor of a presidential system, and said the current system in Turkey does not address the crucial political matters and at the same time presents a clash of authority within the state. He further said that the proposed presidential system will be included in the AK Party's election manifesto, which is expected to be announced on April 15.
According to sources from the AK Party headquarters, the election manifesto will describe the checks and balances of the presidential system while emphasizing a strong legislative body and the decentralization of power. The AK Party's proposal is also expected to stress the importance of pluralism in terms of political representation, and will argue that the presidential system would bolster pluralism by eliminating the election threshold. The election manifesto will also explain the necessity of switching to a presidential system for political stability and sustainable development with historical analyses and examples from Turkish political history. Additionally, it will argue that the current parliamentary system was tainted due to consecutive coup d'états and has become a complicated system, making change inevitable.
Recently, Davutoğlu stressed that he personally penned part of the manifesto that explains the details of the AK Party's intention to switch the country's political system. In the party's weekly group meeting at the Parliament last Tuesday, Davutoğlu described the proposed presidential system as "pro-freedom, human-focused and based on the separation of powers." Davutoğlu also refuted the claims that a change to the system would bolster one-man rule under Erdoğan in Turkey. "Through the new constitution, we will introduce a new understanding of governance based on productive power sharing and a separation of powers. We will introduce the presidential system with the right perspective," Davutoğlu said on March 31.
Meanwhile, Erdoğan has dismissed criticism that a new presidential system will bring a one-man dictatorship, highlighting the use of similar systems in various Western countries like the U.S. where democracy is applied. "They instantly begin saying, 'one-man state and dictatorship.' Is there dictatorship in the U.S., Mexico, Argentina, Brazil or France? Why does it become dictatorship in Turkey when it isn't so in those countries?" Erdoğan said on March 25.
The AK Party's election manifesto is scheduled to be announced on April 15 in an event attended by thousands of political figures, prominent businessmen and celebrities.