Turkish assembly passes polemic bill to boost Erdogan powers

Package will pave way for a referendum on the presidential system in the country.

Updated - January 21, 2017 10:27 am IST

Published - January 21, 2017 10:25 am IST - ANKARA:

In a big boost to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s parliament has approved a contentious constitutional reform package, paving the way for a referendum on a presidential system that would greatly expand the powers of the President.

In a big boost to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s parliament has approved a contentious constitutional reform package, paving the way for a referendum on a presidential system that would greatly expand the powers of the President.

Turkey’s parliament has approved a contentious constitutional reform package, paving the way for a referendum on a presidential system that would greatly expand the powers of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s office.

In an all-night session that ended early on Saturday, lawmakers voted in favor of a set of amendments presented by the ruling party, founded by Mr. Erdogan. The reform bill cleared the minimum threshold necessary to put the measures to a national referendum for final approval.

The vote took place with 488 lawmakers out of the 550-seat assembly in attendance. A total of 339 parliamentarians voted yes, 142 no, five cast empty ballots and two were ruled out as invalid.

People’s decision: Yildrim

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim celebrated the result saying “we are now entrusting this to the people, its actual owners. Now it’s the people’s word. It is the people’s decision.”

A public vote on the issue is expected as early as March 26, and no later than mid-April, according to officials of the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP.

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