Turkish parliament approves constitutional reform process

Ankara, Jan 10 (IANS) The Turkish parliament on Tuesday approved a constitutional reform process to implement a presidential system.

A total of 338 deputies, eight more than the required number, supported the reform, Efe news reported.

The proposal is defended by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), founded and run by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), as the two parties together have 355 members in the 550-seat parliament.

A total of 480 deputies took part in the vote, with 134 voting against the reform, while there were two abstentions and five blank voting papers, which were considered as one invalid vote.

The deputies of the leftist and pro-Kurds Peoples’ Democratic Party, which has 11 of its deputies imprisoned, boycotted the session.

The reform is also opposed by the People’s Republican Party, the main opposition party in Turkey.

After the formal approval to start the debate, the 18 articles of the reform will be voted one by one before the full draft is put to the vote.

Once voted by the legislature, the reform will have to be submitted to a popular referendum if the proposal was not supported by two-thirds of the parliament, which means the support of 367 members.

–IANS

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