Turkish parliament approves constitutional reform bill

The proposed changes to the constitution will go to the president for approval before heading to a national referendum.

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

In a secret ballot, 339 lawmakers voted in favour, 142 voted against, five cast empty ballots and two were invalid.

The Turkish parliament early on Saturday approved a constitutional reform bill that would allow the country to adopt a presidential form of government.

A total of 339 lawmakers voted in favour of the legislation which needed at least 330 deputies to support it in order to go to a public vote.

The proposed changes to the constitution require a simple majority or 51 percent in the referendum which is expected to be held in spring.

The reform would enable the president to issue decrees, declare emergency rule, appoint ministers and top state officials and dissolve parliament.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says the revised constitution will provide stability at a time of turmoil.

Opponents say it will strip away balances to presidential power.

Immediately after the bill was approved, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said the "last word" would be had by the people in a referendum, expected to be held in April.

"No one should have any doubt of this, on the issue of constitutional change, the most correct decision will certainly be given by the people."

The bill would create an executive presidency for the first time in modern Turkey


TRTWorld and agencies