Turkish President signs constitutional reforms expanding his executive powers

The referendum "is planned to take place on April 16", Numan Kurtulmus said in comments broadcast on state-run TRT television.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday rubber-stamped proposed constitutional changes that will boost his own powers, paving the way for a referendum on the legislation in April.

The Turkish parliament approved the 18-article bill last month with 339 votes in favour, nine more than what was needed to put the proposals to a referendum.

Critics, however, fear the changes will significantly weaken Turkey's checks and balances, leading to increasingly authoritarian rule.

The changes would hand wide-ranging executive powers to the president, and the post of prime minister would be abolished.

Mr Erdogan's approval of the legislation comes six months after an attempted coup against him by a rogue military faction, in July previous year.


"Our president [after signing] sent law 6671 to the administration of the prime minister for future publication", the statement read.

The Bill also calls for parliamentary and presidential elections to be held at the same time, with the draft stating Nov 3, 2019, as the date of the next ballot.

The Turkish parliament sent the constitutional amendments for the president's approval on February 2, 12 days after it passed the parliament by exceeding the 330-vote threshold to bring it to a referendum.

President Erdogan has steadily consolidated his control of Turkey's branches of government since his election in 2014. The changes allow a president to serve up to two five-year terms.

"The system we will bring is different because the president will be an active member of a [political] party with the new system", he explained.

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