CHP will defend democracy in presidential regime debate: Kılıçdaroğlu

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The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) will “defend democracy” in Turkey against government attempts to change the political system through a constitutional draft introducing a shift to a presidential system, CHP head Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has vowed.

“The [change to a] presidential system is being discussed. We will not allow anybody who supports rule by diktat over democracy,” Kılıçdaroğlu posted on his official Twitter account on Nov. 16.

He previously voiced his criticism after the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) delivered its constitutional draft to the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) on Nov. 15. 

Despite denials from both the AKP and the MHP, Kılıçdaroğlu insists that the introduction of a new governance system granting excessive powers to the head of state will lead to nothing but more authoritarianism.  

The AKP’s draft charter text officially outlines a “presidential system,” rather than an “executive presidential system,” but decorates the head of state with powers similar to those in countries ruled under executive presidential systems. The president will be able to appoint ministers and half of key judicial bodies, and will be able to issue decree laws. The new system will introduce two vice presidents and will abolish the position of the prime minister.   

CHP head Kılıçdaroğlu stressed that his party is in favor of strengthening democracy through strengthening the parliamentary system.

“Strengthening our country is possible only by crowning it with a democracy, not by turning it into a one-man rule by diktat,” he said.

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