Turkey Referendum: President Erdogan wins sweeping powers
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan won the referendum on granting him sweeping new powers by a clear majority. The “Yes” vote garnered by Erdogan was 51.36% and “No” was 48.64%. while the supporters of Erdogan has hailed the results, the two main opposition parties have challenged the results.
The draft of the new constitution has the following salient features:
- Next presidential and parliamentary elections will be held on 3 November 2019;
- It provides for a five year tenure and maximum of two terms for the President;
- The president will have powers to directly appoint top public officials, including ministers;
- President will be able to assign one or several vice-presidents;
- The job of prime minister would be scrapped;
- President will have power to intervene in the judiciary;
- The president will have power to decide whether or not to impose a state of emergency
According Erdogan, changes were needed to address security concerns especially after an attempted coup nine months earlier. He also wants these changes to avoid the fragile coalition governments of the past.
The new system Erdogan envisages will resemble those in France and the US and would help to bring calm to the turmoil caused by the Kurdish insurgency, Islamist militancy and conflict in neighbouring Syria, which has resulted in a huge refugee influx.
Critics fear that the proposed changes would make the president’s position too powerful without any checks and balances present in other presidential systems. They also complain of massive irregularities with the voting.