The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) will hold a meeting with the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) on Nov. 10 to discuss the scope of its constitutional draft, presenting two offers including a shift to an executive presidential system, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım has said.
“Both alternatives are on the table. We need 330 affirmative votes to bring the constitutional amendment to a public vote. For the AKP it is not possible for us to achieve that by ourselves. In this manner, the MHP’s support is necessary. We have initiated our work based on this,” Yıldırım told reporters on Nov. 9.
“We will handle the issue in the meeting and evaluate all wide-scale, middle-scale or small-scale alternatives,” he added.
Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş had said on Oct. 30 that the AKP has prepared two constitutional drafts but will not issue them unless a majority in a parliamentary vote is guaranteed.
“We will listen to what they say and then we will act. We won’t act unless we are sure that parliament will give 330 votes,” he had said.
With 316 seats in parliament, the AKP is at least 14 votes short of introducing a constitutional amendment, as any charter change requires the support of at least 330 votes in order to take it to a referendum.
Even though MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli’s earlier proposal to bring the issue to the public was interpreted as a covert support for the parliamentary vote for constitutional change, on Oct. 25, Bahçeli said the MHP would decide on its stance after evaluating the AKP’s draft.
The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) remains staunchly opposed to the presidential system change and constitutional bid, but Prime Minister Yıldırım called on the party to participate in negotiations, saying the AKP would like to pursue meetings with both the CHP and the MHP. “The CHP has a negative attitude. But we think there is still time. We repeat our call to the CHP to contribute to the new constitutional process that our people are expecting, and to let this honor and pride be for all of us. Our door is open,” he said.