Turkey approves dictatorial system with 51 percent while opposition challenges the results

Turkish dictator Erdogan

ANKARA (KDN) – Some 51.3 percent of the more than 58 million voters in Turkey said “yes” to the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) constitutional amendment package in a tight race to decide on whether to shift to an executive presidential system.

The gap between the two votes stood at around 1.3 million according to midnight figures by the state-run Anadolu Agency. The turnout exceeded 84 percent.

The approval of the amendment package – which was backed by the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and opposed by the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), the third largest party in parliament – means an administrative shift will take place in 2019 if no early elections are held.

However, the ruling party is expected to call for President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to return to lead the AKP, something that was officially forbidden in the former system due to the constitutional impartiality of the president.

The most debated change in the 18-article package was the granting of executive powers to the elected president, who can pick his cabinet ministers from outside parliament, dismiss them, dissolve the parliament whenever he wishes.

Accordingly, the parliamentary and presidential elections will be held on the same day every five years.

The wanna-be dictator can appoint one or more vice presidents. Dictator’s vice presidents will represent the president and will be able to use the authorities of the president in the event that the presidential post has become vacant for any reason. Vice presidents and ministers can be appealed to the Supreme Court by the same procedure as the president, and will benefit from the provisions of immunity about offences not related to their duties.

The “No” vote prevailed in Istanbul, Ankara and İzmir, the three largest cities in Turkey, with 51.3 percent, 51.1 percent and 68.8 percent of the vote respectively.