Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has mooted a possible alliance between the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) for the writing of a new constitution, which would also introduce his much-desired presidential system.
“I believe that the ruling party and the MHP share common ground. I am of the opinion that the people will say ‘yes' to a national constitution that reflects its cultural fabric if these two structures sharing a common ground can come together. I hope this step will be taken,” Erdoğan said at a televised “meeting with youngsters” late on March 20.
The AKP, which holds 317 seats in parliament, needs at least 14 lawmakers from opposition parties in order to submit a constitutional amendment that could be taken to a referendum.
Erdoğan recalled that an inter-party commission tasked with rewriting the constitution was only able to complete 60 articles. He claimed that it could not be legislated because of the objections of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) to the presidential system but said there was actually no need to seek the participation of the main opposition in the constitution-writing process.
“It is not necessary. If the ruling party and the MHP go hand in hand, they could open the way to introduce it to the public's vote, even though they may fail to reach 367 seats. I believe the people will approve such a constitution” the president said.
367 seats is the required majority for amending the constitution without going to a referendum.
Erdoğan was also advocating a shift to a presidential system earlier on March 20, saying the parliamentary system “failed to boost the development of Turkey.”
“I was elected with the votes of 52 percent. Since Aug. 10, 2014, I have been serving in a semi-presidential system,” he said, stressing that there would be “governance problems” if the system is not adjusted.