The discussions in Turkish Parliament continue to intensify around amendments to the constitution initiated on Jan. 10. Nine articles have been approved so far by a majority, between 341 and 343 of the votes, above the necessary 330. The HDP party continues to boycott the vote, while the other opposition party, the SPD, is voting against the measures, joining the HDP to vote on parliamentary oversight.
Among the most heated were the fifth and sixth votes, which removed from parliament many of its checks on executive powers, including the abolition of the no confidence vote. The president has been given the power to rule by decree and may also push back laws to parliament if he considers them unconstitutional, or challenge parliamentary measures at the Constitutional Court. Another vote covered judicial power, to whose requirement of “independence” was added an unspecified requirement of “fairness.”
The reforms increased the number of MPs from 550 to 600, justified, according to the government, by the need to improve representation of the increased population. It lowered the minimum age of MPs from 25 to 18 years old, and the requirement to have fulfilled military service was partially eliminated.