Turkey set to vote on more powers for president

Turkey set to vote on more powers for president

Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said the referendum was likely to be held April 26.

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. "I sincerely believe that Turkey will shift to a management model with a more active administration that will provide political and economic stability in full", Kurtulmuş said.

Under the proposed far-reaching changes to the executive branch of government, the power to appoint and dismiss government ministers would become the duty of the president rather than the prime minister.

"With the president's approval, eyes are now on the High Election Board (YSK)".

Campaigning for the referendum will take place under a state-of-emergency that has been in place since a failed coup attempt last July.

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The changes would scrap the office of prime minister - now Turkey's head of government, and a position Erdogan held for a decade before becoming president.

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.

The post of prime minister, now held by Erdogan loyalist Binali Yildirim, would be replaced with one or more vice presidents.

If the changes pass the referendum, the first of simultaneous parliamentary and presidential elections for a five-year term would be held in November 2019.

The main opposition party has accused Mr Erdogan - seen as increasingly autocratic after 14 years in power as both prime minister and president - of trying to decapitate Parliament.

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