AK Party backs down on presidential system proposal

August 11, 2013, Sunday/ 16:32:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) will withdraw its suggestion to change Turkey's system of governance to a presidential system, which is part of its new constitutional proposal, thus lifting a major barrier to consensus on a new constitution.

The AK Party has been promoting a transition to the presidential system, a suggestion met by vehement opposition from other parties in Parliament. Opposition is so intense that the idea has become a major roadblock to the work of the Constitutional Reconciliation Commission and the aim of bringing it to a final resolution.

The commission has been trying to draft a new constitution for the past two years, and the political parties have agreed on 61 articles. However, the proposal of a presidential system has made the work of the commission impossible. Members exchanged accusations about the failure of the commission, with opposition deputies accusing the AK Party of making it impossible due to its insistence on the presidential system, and AK Party members accusing the opposition of being unreasonably obstinate and unwilling to cooperate.

The Taraf newspaper, citing unnamed sources from the capital, reported on Sunday that once Parliament resumes in September, the AK Party will no longer insist on the adoption of a presidential system. Analysts say that this is likely to be an improvement for the Constitutional Reconciliation Commission.

The commission is working over the summer, and senior AK Party members have reportedly told Taraf that the commission's members will try to increase the number of articles agreed on in the draft by this fall. The government wants to ensure that the final draft is approved by all four parties in Parliament, and hopes to complete the new draft by the end of this year.

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