Erdogan Urges Turkish Citizens to Vote in Favor of Extending His Powers
20:41 03.02.2017(updated 20:42 03.02.2017)
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan advocated on Friday voting in favor of major constitutional amendments that extend the powers of the president, launching the campaign for the upcoming referendum.
MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The president stressed that the goal was to make Turkey one of the top 10 economies of the world before 2023.
"I, myself, our prime minister and ministers will explain all of this… The parliament said 'yes' for this, and now the nation is saying 'yes,'" Erdogan said during a speech at the opening ceremony of a hospital in the Mediterranean province of Mersin, as quoted by Hurriyet Daily News.
The amendments will include making the age of candidacy 18 and increasing the number of deputies to 600, from the current 550.
On Thursday, the Turkish constitutional amendments bill was submitted for the approval of the president. Erdogan has 15 days to approve or reject the bill and set the date of the referendum on the amendments. The referendum is expected to take place in mid-April.
On January 21, Turkish parliament approved the amendments that give the president more direct influence over the parliament and the judiciary. The president will also be able to remain the head of the political party he represents, which is not allowed by the current legislation.
The bill, which consists of 18 articles, was introduced by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). It now needs to be approved in a referendum before it comes into force in 2019.
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