CHP suggests Parliament, not public, should elect president

ELIF PETEK SAMATYALI
ISTANBUL
Published 03.06.2016 23:52

The main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) released a 119-page report on Friday, criticizing the suggestion made by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) to adopt a presidential system. The report argues that the president should not be elected by the public, but by the qualified majority voting system in Parliament. The CHP report compares and contrasts the practices of the presidential systems in the U.S. and other countries, saying that a presidency would lead to a "patronizing hyper-presidency" in Turkey.

The report claims that a presidential system is a risky move for Turkey as the presidency requires all political organs to be redesigned accordingly. Although the AK Party government has not indicated that the U.S. system will be applied to Turkey, the report says that the U.S. has a federal structure of administration that is quite different to Turkey's parliamentary system, making it harder to adapt the presidential system.

The CHP concluded the report with a set of recommendations, stressing that the president should not be elected by the public, but by Parliament, using the system of qualified majority voting. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and AK Party leaders have criticized the way the 1980 coup turned the election system into a parliamentary one, claiming that it is "necessary" to introduce public voting in presidential elections, as it was prior to the military coup.

The "Turkish-type" presidential model brought to the table by the AK Party stipulates that the president is the head of executive power and will be directly elected for five-year terms. Like the current system, the president will approve laws and will have authority to assign or discharge senior public officials and ministers. The duties and responsibilities of the current Parliament will continue, as it will have authority to enact laws, approve budgets, decide to issue money or wage war. It will be responsible for controlling the executive.

The CHP objected to the election of the 11th president, Abdullah Gül, when it was by parliamentary vote in 2007, drawing attention to the recent change in the CHP's election strategies.

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