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Parliamentary commission approves four articles of draft constitution

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The parliamentary Constitution Commission on Tuesday approved four articles of a draft constitution prepared by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and supported by the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).

According to the approved articles of the draft constitution, general elections in Turkey will be held every five years, similar to the presidential election.

The commission also removed an article stipulating the election of “substitute deputies” to replace deputies in the event of their death or termination.

Following MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli’s promise in November to Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım to support the AKP government when a draft constitution was submitted for parliamentary approval, the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) objected, claiming the draft constitution aims to switch to a presidential system of governance in Turkey.

Prior to his meeting with Yıldırım, Bahçeli also met with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at the presidential palace in Ankara amid ongoing debates about the introduction of an executive presidency and the reinstatement of capital punishment in Turkey.

The Erdoğan-Bahçeli meeting came at a time when Bahçeli sparked a fresh debate last month over the introduction of an executive presidency when he said there was a de facto situation in Turkey concerning its system of governance and that President Erdoğan was already acting like an executive president even though his post is largely ceremonial. Bahçeli said the situation needed to be resolved.

Bahçeli’s remarks were interpreted as supporting a switch to an executive presidency, and AKP government officials said they would bring a proposal for a change to an executive presidency to Parliament in January and present it in a referendum in April.


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