Turkey May Hold Constitution Referendum to Expand Presidential Powers in 2017

Turkey's new constitutional referendum to expand presidential powers could take place in April 2017, ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputy chair Hayati Yazici said Wednesday.

ANKARA (Sputnik) — Despite vocal foreign and domestic concerns, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is poised to hold a referendum to abolish the 1923 constitution and its parliamentary system to complete his executive sweep.

"The offer on the presidential system includes 12-15 items. The parliament can discuss it in January and, if it passes, it can be put to a referendum in April next year," Yazici told Turkey's NTV broadcaster.

A proposal to replace Turkey's parliamentary democracy with a presidential system is expected among a set of constitutional reforms the ruling party is planning, Prime Minister and AKP chairman Binali Yildirim said last week. He said the constitutional reform bill could either be adopted by a majority of 367 votes or be brought to a referendum if it gains 330 votes.

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