Bill to extend presidential powers gets Erdogan’s nod

Feb 10, 2017, 7:03 AM EST
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
(Source: Recep Tayyip Erdoğan/flickr)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Friday approved a constitutional reform bill that seeks to implement an executive presidential system in the country, a move that the leader’s opponents believe could usher in a new era of authoritarian rule. Erdogan said the step is aimed at persevering the country’s stability in the wake of political turmoil.

If a nationwide referendum, likely to be held on April 16, approves the legislation, Erdogan may stay in office until 2029, reports Reuters. The law would grant sweeping powers to Erdogan allowing him to issue decrees, declare state emergency, pick and suspect top ministers and officials and dissolve parliament.

The proposed legislation would also scrap the office of prime minister, which Erdogan held for almost a decade before assuming the presidency, a largely ceremonial position in Turkey, notes Deutsche Welle.