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Kremlin calls to respect Turkey’s choice at referendum on expanding presidential powers

The final results of the referendum will be announced within 11-12 days
Supporters of Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul, Turkey AP Photo/Emrah Gurel
Supporters of Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul, Turkey
© AP Photo/Emrah Gurel

MOSCOW, April 17. /TASS/. Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov has called to respect the choice made by Turkey at Sunday’s referendum on expanding presidential powers.

"The referendum is absolutely a sovereign affair of the Turkish Republic," Peskov stressed. "We believe that everyone should respect the expression of will of the Turkish people."

According to the preliminary data, as many as 51.3% of voters (or 1.3 million) supported the constitutional amendments replacing the country’s parliamentary system with an executive presidency and eliminating the position of prime minister. Another 48.7% of voters opposed the proposed amendments. The final results will be announced within 11-12 days.

Turkey’s constitutional amendments

The proposed amendments will significantly increase the presidential powers while the Office of the Prime Minister will be abolished. They also allow the president to appoint vice presidents, ministers and some members of the Board of Judges and prosecutors. The president will be able to issue decrees that will come into force without preliminary approval of the parliament, but they may be abolished if the legislators reject them during the debates.

The president will have the power to declare a state of emergency in the country, initiate referendums and submit a draft budget to the parliament for discussion. But such decrees should be approved by the parliament. The president will have the right to remain a party member if necessary.

The parliament will be able to control the work of the government through the vice president and written requests to him that may be sent by initiating a parliamentary investigation. A probe may be launched against the president but three-fifths of the parliament should call for it. The number of seats in the parliament will be increased from 550 to 600, and the minimum age requirement for the candidates for MPs will be reduced from 25 to 18.

Under the amendments, military courts will be abolished. The term of parliament and president will be extended from four to five years, but the president will be allowed to serve for no more than two times in a row.