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66.4 percent of Turkish voters prefer parliamentary system: poll

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Two out of every three voters in Turkey support the parliamentary system of governance over the executive presidential system that the country voted to adopt in 2017, Turkish  media reported on Wednesday, citing the results of a recent survey conducted by the Yöneylem Social Research Center.

Through a referendum in April 2017, Turkey switched from a parliamentary system to an executive presidential system that granted President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) sweeping powers and was criticized for removing constitutional checks and balances, thus leading to a further weakening of Turkish democracy.

Yöneylem on Tuesday tweeted the results of the survey in which the participants were asked, “In your opinion, should Turkey be governed by the current presidential system, or should we return to the parliamentary system?”

According to the survey results, 66.4 percent of participants said they preferred the parliamentary system over the presidential system, with only 28.5 percent arguing the current system should be preserved as is and 5.1 percent undecided.

Supporters of the parliamentary system included 12.7 percent of ruling AKP voters and 35.3 percent of voters of the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), an ally of the AKP.

Among those who favored the executive presidential system were 79.4 percent of voters of the AKP, which spearheaded its adoption via a referendum in 2017, and 62.9 percent of MHP voters, with the figure declining below 5 percent among supporters of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), its ally, the nationalist Good (İYİ) Party and the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP).

Survey results also revealed that 94.7 percent of CHP supporters, 93.7 percent of İYİ voters and 93.1 percent of HDP supporters were among those who stated that they prefer the parliamentary system, with the figure decreasing slightly to 95.3, 90.9 and 90.9 percent, respectively, in such smaller opposition parties as the Democracy and Progress Party (DEVA), the Future Party (GP) and the Felicity Party (SP).

A hundred percent of Workers’ Party of Turkey (TİP) supporters prefer the parliamentary system of governance over the presidential system, the Yöneylem survey further showed.

A report released by the Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions (DİSK-AR) research center in June revealed how the presidential system had taken an economic toll on Turkey during the four years since its introduction in 2018.

According to the report, the dollar and euro exchange rates have increased three-and-a-half times within the past four years, inflation surged from 15.4 to 73.5 percent, the number of unemployed had risen by 47.2 percent to 8.1 million and consumer confidence in Turkey had declined by nearly 30 points since the introduction of the presidential system, from 90.6 in June 2018, to 63.4 in June 2022.

Over the past several years, Turkey has been suffering from backsliding in its economy, with high inflation and unemployment as well as a poor human rights record. Erdoğan is criticized for mishandling the economy, emptying the state’s coffers and establishing one-man rule in the country where dissent is suppressed and opponents are jailed on politically motivated charges.

A high cost of living has become the new normal in the country, where recent increases in food and utility prices are pushing up inflation, further crippling the purchasing power of citizens.

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