A declaration for an ‘enhanced parliamentary system’ was made by the leaders of six opposition parties in a joint press conference in Turkey’s capital Ankara on Monday.
The leaders had earlier announced that they had reached an agreement to form an alliance with the aim of replacing the current presidential system, or the autocratic ‘one-man rule’, in Turkey with an enhanced parliamentary system that would reinstate the legal state, the separation of powers and judicial independence, and restore civil rights and liberties.
In the press conference in Ankara, the leaders announced the objectives they would be pursuing, some of which are as follows:
The election threshold will be lowered from 10 percent to 3 percent.
The political parties receiving over 1 percent of the votes in parliamentary elections will receive treasury grants.
No presidential decree will be issued regarding basic rights and freedoms.
The president will not have no power of veto.
The elected president will serve only for one seven year term.
Neither the President nor the Council of Ministers will have the power to declare state of emergency independently.
Decisions of the Turkish Constitutional Court and the European Court of Human Rights will be implemented immediately.
At least three quarters of the members of the Constitutional Court will have to be lawyers.
TRT (the state radio and television) and AA (the state news agency) will be restructured on the basis of principles of independence and impartiality.
Legal steps will be taken to prevent cartels in the media.
Elected officials will be replaced only through elections. The practice of appointing trustees in the place of elected mayors will be terminated.
The Council of Higher Education (YÖK) will be dissolved.
University rectors will no longer be appointed, but will be elected by members of the academy.
Muharrem Erkek, vice-chair of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), said that the current presidential system which began in 2018 “granted the President very broad and unrestrained powers ensuring control over all three branches of state power, the legislative, executive and judiciary, thus creating an authoritarian administration.”
The proposed enhanced parliamentary system has been defined as follows:
“The enhanced parliamentary system is a libertarian system in which freedom of expression, freedom of belief and press freedom will be secured; in which women’s rights, children’s rights and the environment are fully protected. This system is a pluralist system in which all institutions of the state are at an equal distance to all the citizens with no discrimination. This is a system where principles of equality, impartiality and competence will govern in public administration, where corruption is tackled effectively, where regulatory and supervisory authorities will be autonomous and where universities are free.”
According to a February survey by one of Turkey’s most credible polling companies, the ruling coalition of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) are likely to receive 39.3% of the popular vote, while five opposition parties are likely to receive 45.2%,
The pro-Kurdish opposition People’s Democratic Party (HDP) that has recently made a move to form an alliance with socialist parties and groups, is likely to receive 12.6% of the popular vote in the coming elections according to the survey.