On Sunday morning, April 16, in Turkey has opened the polls for voting on the referendum on package of constitutional changes to provide for transition to a presidential system of government.
The Ministry adopted enhanced security measures to ensure during the day will do more than 250 thousand policemen, 128 thousand gendarmes, and about 70 thousand employees of security agencies and volunteers. In the case of an emergency, the command of the army will be able to allocate about 6 thousand soldiers, reports TASS.
In the country for the entire period of voting, a ban on public campaigning, media do not have the right to publish the results of public opinion polls or post campaign materials, conduct live communication with politicians or experts, which can be regarded as propaganda. Also on the day of the plebiscite prohibited conduct exit polls and to take pictures of completed ballots. While the CEC does not remove these restrictions, banned will be the sale of alcohol and social events.
According to the Turkish authorities, the referendum have the right to participate more than 55 million citizens. For their will open more than 167 thousand polling stations.
Turkish citizens living abroad voted early.
Constitutional changes in the transition to a presidential system have been adopted by the Turkish Parliament and signed by President Tayyip Erdogan, said RIA Novosti. Members of Parliament from the ruling justice and development party (AKP) and the majority of deputies from the nationalist Party national movement supported the draft, while the opposition party, the center – left Republican people’s party and the Pro-Kurdish Party democracy peoples opposed, accusing Erdogan’s desire to establish personal power.
A package of amendments to 18 articles of the Turkish Constitution implies that the President becomes the head of the state system, he will be endowed with the power to appoint Vice-presidents, Ministers and senior officials. The Prime Minister will be abolished. Decisions on the establishment, dissolution, powers, responsibilities and structure of the ministries will be determined in accordance with the decrees of the President. Right on the Declaration of state of emergency will be received by the President, approve the decision of the President on the state of emergency will be Parliament. The head of state will be able to publish and the other having the force of law decrees, which will enter into force without the prior approval of Parliament, but they can be canceled if lawmakers in the future they will reject.
The President will not be able to leave the ranks of his political party, as provided for in the current Constitution. Increasing the number of MPs – c 550 to 600. The age limit for candidates for elective posts be reduced from 25 to 18. Canceled the practice of re-election, introduced the system of «spare» members. Decision on repeat elections can be taken as the Parliament and the President. Elections to the legislative and Executive authorities will be carried out in one day. Parliament and President are elected for five years, the head of state can hold office for not more than two consecutive terms.
In case of approval of amendments in the referendum regular elections of the President and Parliament will be held on the same day – November 3, 2019, after which the articles of the Statute on the presidential system will take effect. That is, if elected, Erdogan will be President two terms in a row.
Erdogan and his supporters explain the need for amendments that, in the conditions facing the country’s challenges, particularly the terrorist threat, it is necessary to increase the efficiency of making important management decisions. In addition, the authorities refer to a negative experience in the past when coalition governments in Turkey often followed each other, leading to chaos and paralysis of the government.
The opposition believes that the victory of Erdogan’s supporters will lead to the uncontrolled strengthening of his power, polarization of society, the further deterioration of the already damaged relations between Turkey and EU, the outflow of foreign investment from the country.
The last before the referendum, the polls show a slight advantage of proponents of a transition to a presidential system (46-47% to 43-44% against). Thus, of crucial importance will be the votes of the remaining approximately 10% of voters who decide his will at the last moment.
Many political analysts say that, whatever the results of the referendum in Turkey, the referendum is fraught with aggravation of the political confrontation in the country.
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