Republic of Turkey: Referendum, 16 April 2017
At stake in this election:
- A referendum which would dramatically increase the power of the office of the President.
Description of government structure:
- Chief of State: President Recep Tayyip ERDOGAN (since 10 August 2014)
- Head of Government: Prime Minister Binali YILDIRIM (since 22 May 2016)
- Assembly: Turkey has a unicameral Grand National Assembly (Turkiye Buyuk Millet Meclisi) of 550 seats.
- Only members of the Grand National Assembly (GNA) may propose amendments. The proposal of amendments requires written consent of one third of GNA members and the adoption of draft amendments require two debates and a three-fifths majority vote of all GNA members. If the amendment achieves the three-fifths majority vote, it will be submitted to referendum.
- The President can request reconsideration in the case that the vote does not pass. If the reconsideration achieves the two-thirds majority in the GNA, the amendment is submitted by the president to referendum.
- Passage of a referendum requires an absolute majority vote.
About the referendum:
- The referendum strengthens the power of the office of the President by abolishing the office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers, establishes the President as the head of the executive branch and creates the position of vice president. He or she will be allowed to maintain ties to a political party and will have broad authority over the judiciary system. The referendum would also extend parliamentary terms from four to five years and presidential and parliamentary elections would be synchronized.
- The referendum reflects the desire of some to have a stronger government and executive branch. It would create an executive branch similar to that of France and the United States and alter the GNA's powers to be that of largely a legislative body.
Main provisions in the referendum:
- Do you vote in favor of or against the 18 amendments to the Constitution?
- Summaries of the main provisions of the articles pertaining to government structure:
- Office of the President:
- President is directly elected. Political parties which received minimum 5% of the vote in the last parliamentary elections may nominate a candidate for president. Once elected, the President can remain affiliated with his or her political party.
- Executive power belongs to the President including: appointment of vice-presidents and high-level state officials, determination of national security policy, the implementation of executive decrees, renewal of elections and appointment of ministers.
- President is criminally liable.
- If the office is vacated, the vice-president becomes acting president and the next election is held within 45 days.
- Grand National Assembly:
- The GNA will be increased to 600 deputies
- Age of eligibility for a deputy position will be lowered to 18
- Assembly and presidential elections synchronized on a 5 year cycle, increasing Assembly terms from 4 to 5 years.
- The GNA will become primarily a legislative body.
- Other provisions:
- Elimination of the Council of Ministers and the office of Prime Minister. Powers formally reserved for these offices will now be with the President.
- Constitutional Court reduced from 17 to 15 members
- The Council of Judges and Prosecutors will be reduced to 13 from 22 members. The President, GNA, and the Minister of Justice will appoint members to four year terms.
- Martial law is limited but circumstances to call a state of emergency are broadened.
- Office of the President:
Population and number of registered voters:
- Population: 80,274,604 (July 2016)
- Registered Voters: 56,949,009 (2015)
- Female Population: 39,886,004 (July 2016)
- Is Turkey a signatory to CEDAW: No
- Has Turkey ratified CEDAW: Yes (20 December 1985)
- Gender Quota: No
- Female candidates in this election: N/A
- Number of Female Parliamentarians: 82
- Human Development Index Position: 69 (2014)
- Social Institutions and Gender Index (SIGI) Categorization: Low
- Is Turkey a signatory to CRPD: Yes (30 March 2007)
- Has Turkey ratified CRPD: Yes (28 September 2009)
- Population with a disability: 11,912,140 (2016)