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Erdogan describes new constitution as 'belated reform'

Erdogan describes new constitution as 'belated reform'
Turkish leader says voters approved presidential system in 2007 referendum

By Sibel Ugurlu

ANKARA (AA) - Turkey’s president on Wednesday described constitutional change as a “belated reform”.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan was addressing local administrators in Ankara, where he said Turkey had already chosen its form of government in 1923.

"Turkey made its choice of regime by establishing the republic in 1923. Now there is no such issue for our country," Erdogan said.

The Turkish leader also said the people had decided in favor of a presidential system in 2007.

That year saw a referendum passed which paved the way for the electorate to directly vote for a Turkish head of state.

"It is necessary to assess the amendment of the constitution, which will be presented for the approval of our [Turkish] nation in April, as the completion of this step taken 10 years ago," Erdogan added.

"Those who run counter to the republic will find our people and me confronting them," the president said.

He also said other states ran a presidential system, with some even employing a monarchy and parliamentary system at the same time.

Constitutional reform has been discussed since Erdogan was voted president in August 2014.

An 18-article bill was passed by parliament in January, with 339 votes in favor -- nine more than needed to put the proposals to a referendum that is now expected in early April.

The proposals would hand wide-ranging executive powers to the president, such as the power to appoint ministers, and greater control over the judiciary.

The post of prime minister will be abolished and the president will be allowed to retain ties to a political party.

The minimum age for parliamentary candidates would be reduced to 18 and the number of deputies will rise to 600.

Simultaneous parliamentary and presidential elections for a five-year term would be held in November 2019 under the new constitution.

source: News Feed
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