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PM Yıldırım hopes to submit constitutional draft this week

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Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım on Monday said he plans to submit a constitutional amendment on the switch to a presidential system to Parliament before the end of the week.

“God willing, when we return from Russia, all things being equal, we will submit our draft to Parliament before the end of the week,” said Yıldırım during a press conference at Ankara Esenboğa Airport on Monday before leaving for an official visit to Russia.

Yıldırım met on Monday with Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli at Parliament. The two leaders had previously announced that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and MHP had agreed on the constitutional amendment draft on Dec. 1.

“Colleagues from both parties [AKP and MHP] have been working on details and technical issues in accordance with the orders of the party chairmen. Everything we told the public has been worked out one by one,” said Yıldırım in response to a question asking whether there are still disagreements between the two parties.

“Our proposal will be discussed in detail in the parliamentary commission. Problems can be tackled by discussion. Everything has a solution,” Yıldırım said in an earlier statement on Monday.

“There are no disagreements,” said Bahçeli following his meeting with Yıldırım in answer to a question about whether or not the parties have overcome all their differences.

With a strong push by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the AKP wants to formally cement Erdoğan’s powers with the creation of an executive presidency.

The constitutional amendment draft will be submitted to Parliament’s General Assembly after it is debated and approved in the Constitution Commission.

The AKP lacks a qualitative majority for directly amending the constitution but has the opportunity to take it to referendum if 330 lawmakers vote “yes” on it. The AKP needs an additional 14 votes to reach 330. The MHP has 40 seats in Parliament.

The amendment package must be taken to a referendum within 60 days following the vote in Parliament.

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