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Support for executive presidency in Turkey below 35 percent: survey

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Nationwide support for the executive-style presidential system that was adopted in Turkey with 51.4 percent of the vote in an April 2017 referendum dropped to 34.5 percent in December 2020, according to a survey conducted by the Ankara-based MetroPoll.

The results of the section titled “Evaluation of the presidential system” in the “Pulse of Turkey” survey, conducted in December, were shared on Twitter by Özer Sencar, the owner and president of MetroPoll, on Saturday.

According to the survey, in response to a question asking whether Turkey should keep the current executive-style presidential system or go back to the parliamentary system, 57.7 percent of respondents said Turkey should return to the parliamentary system, while 34.5 percent said it should keep the executive presidential system. The remaining 7.8 percent of respondents had no opinion.

The results also revealed that nationwide support for the executive presidential system had dropped from 48.7 in July 2020 to 34.5 in December. The significant decrease is due to the country’s deteriorating economy, rising unemployment and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP)’s poor handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, Turkish media reported.

Another striking result of the survey was that among those who voted for the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) — a key ally of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan — in the last general election held in 2018, only 48.8 percent showed support for the executive presidential system, while 45.9 percent argued that the country should return to the parliamentary system.

Turkey used to have a parliamentary system until Erdoğan was re-elected president in June 2018, following the adoption of constitutional amendments in the 2017 referendum. The new system gives extraordinary powers to the president while weakening the parliament and eliminating the post of prime minister.

Dismissing ministers and parliament, issuing decrees, declaring states of emergency and appointing figures to key positions, including the judiciary, are some of the powers the executive-style presidential system gave Erdoğan. It also allowed the president to retain membership in a political party, which was previously prohibited under the constitution as the president was expected to act with impartiality.

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