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Opposition Unites Against Erdogan’s Executive Presidential System

Opposition Unites Against Erdogan’s Executive Presidential System

Wednesday, 22 January, 2020 - 10:30
Turkish parliament in Ankara (File photo: Reuters)
Ankara- Saeed Abdulrazek

Turkish opposition parties relaunched their campaigns to abolish the executive presidential system that was established in the country after the early presidential and parliamentary elections in Turkey in June 2018.

Turkey’s main opposition party, the Republican People's Party (CHP) is seeking to end the executive presidential system, which gave President Recep Tayyip Erdogan almost absolute powers and reduced the authority of the parliament.

The People's Party is working in cooperation with its partner in the Nation Alliance, the nationalist Good Party led by Meral Aksener, the Islamist Felicity Party, Future Party led by former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, and the party that is expected to be announced soon by former Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan.

Both CHP and Good Party announced that their main goal in 2020 is to return to a reformed and strong parliamentary system.

Davutoglu said his party would seek to return to the parliamentary system with amendments granting it more powers; the same goal announced by Babacan.

The Turkish opposition affirms that the presidential system is responsible for the deterioration of the economic situation in the country, as well as the foreign policy of Turkey being floundered and subject to the will and decisions of one individual, after all the important institutions in the country were linked to the presidency.

Turkey’s presidential system gives the president the right to bypass the parliament and issue decrees, despite Erdogan's party and its ally National Movement Party indicating the importance of the presidential system and granting all powers to the president.

However, experience proved that this system sometimes works by trial and error when some decrees are issued and later retracted when errors become clear.

Deputy leader of CHP, Fethi Acikel said that individual governance will lead to an economic setback and will affect human rights, independence of the judiciary, education, and health in almost all areas of society.

Acikel stated that the executive presidential regime’s lack of competence and disregard for the constitution, law, institutions, and the civil service has turned Turkey into a country whose progress has stalled and then reversed on all developmental indices.

In 2019, Freedom House reported that Turkey scored just 31 points out of 100, earning it a status as “not free”.

Turkey has been measured as one of the two countries to experience the biggest democratic backslide in the last decade. It was also came last of 41 countries graded by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) on their records for political rights and freedoms.

Turkish political circles say there is growing discontent with the presidential system within the Justice and Development Party (AK).

Some say that Erdogan himself regrets the transition to the new system especially the condition to receive 50+1 of the votes to maintain the presidency, which left him in need of the support of the Nationalist Movement Party. He is considering introducing possible amendments to the system.

The executive presidential system is in danger of being canceled due to the lawsuit submitted by the CHP to the Supreme Constitutional Court to challenge the results of the constitutional amendment referendum held on April 16, 2017, after the elections committee accepted unstamped votes.

Meanwhile, one of Future Party founders, Selcuk Ozdag said that early elections will be held in May 2021.

The opposition is currently pressing the economic and foreign policy files to reach the early elections.

Vice President of CHP Aykut Erdogdu confirmed that when “we want democracy and justice, Erdogan will leave... There is not even a possibility for him to stay.”

He pointed out that the government is responsible for the unemployment, destruction of agriculture, and the poor living conditions, and despite all of this, it is determined to implement the Istanbul Canal project, which will cost the state more than $20 billion without any revenues.

CHP spokesman, Faik Oztrak criticized Turkey's foreign policy and its interference in many conflicts in the region, saying that countries east to the Mediterranean must benefit from the region's wealth fairly.

Oztrak stressed that this will only be achieved by normalizing relations between Turkey and regional countries, adding that the extremist elements in Syria and Idlib have become a weak point for Turkey.

CHP has repeatedly called for dialogue with the Syrian regime to resolve the crisis between them, but Erdogan does not care about what the opposition says, however, if Russian President Vladimir Putin requests that, he will immediately implement his orders, according to Oztrak.

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