Turkey’s opposition IP reveals reform proposal for parliamentary system

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https://www.dailysabah.com-Good Party (IP) Chair Meral Akşener speaks to a parliamentary group meeting in the capital Ankara, Turkey, May 26, 2021. (AA Photo)

The opposition Good Party (IP) on Wednesday revealed its legislative reform proposal called the “Improved and Strengthened Parliamentary System,” on which the party was working for more than a year.

The system includes eight main topics: “Impartial president,” “Pluralist democracy, participative government, strong Parliament,” “Separation of powers and strong supervision,” “Rule of law and independent impartial judiciary,” “Merit in the state,” “Human rights and individual freedoms, strong social state, strong civil society, strong youth,” “Free press and media” and “Fair and free elections.”

Speaking during the party’s group meeting in the capital Ankara, IP Chair Meral Akşener said that the proposal seeks to establish an impartial role for the president. Accordingly, the elected president of the country could not be a member of any political party, unlike in the current system.

According to the proposal, the country will be governed by the prime minister and the Cabinet. The impartial presidency will be a post above party politics in order to represent the unity of the state and nation. The appointments to senior state posts will be determined by the joint decision of the president, the Cabinet and Parliament.

Also, the president can be elected for one six-year term. After that, a political ban will be imposed on the president in order to prevent her/his return to active politics.

 

The IP proposal suggests that the ministers in the Cabinet should be elected from Parliament members. It also seeks to increase Parliament’s efficiency in the election of members appointed to the higher judicial bodies.

As Akşener announced, the new system will be based on the principle of pluralism. The duty of forming and approving the government will belong to Parliament, which is to be elected through fair and free elections.

The president will cease to be the only authority in the appointment of a minister, and the appointment of a minister from outside Parliament will be blocked. The ministers will be chosen by the prime minister from among the deputies. Ministers will be responsible to Parliament. The proposal also underlined that the legislative power will only be in Parliament.

The proposal also offers a 25% female quota for some administration boards, independent universities, reducing the election threshold to 5%, the reopening of military schools that were closed after the 2016 failed coup attempt and new legal regulations for violence against women.

The current 10% threshold and the highest averages method, known as the D’Hondt method, were introduced with the 1982 Constitution, which was adopted in a referendum after the 1980 military coup. Despite the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) promising to remove the threshold for over a decade, the issue continues to be debated.

It was reported earlier this year that the AK Party completed preparations for a new amendment to the election law, presenting it to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The amendment proposal includes numerous modifications on elections, which have been discussed for a long time by all factions of Parliament. Lawmakers, for example, are considering reducing the election threshold from 10% to 7%. The move will enable smaller parties to enter elections without necessarily looking to form an alliance.

Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Chairperson Devlet Bahçeli also said this month his party has completed a draft for Turkey’s constitution and will soon share it with the ruling AK Party.

Noting that the draft contains 100 articles, Bahçeli said the current atmosphere of conciliation makes it a necessity to draft a new constitution and his party is ready to contribute with no preconditions.

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