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New govt. after presidential system: Turkish PM

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu (AFP photo)

Turkey’s prime minister says his government plans to adopt a new constitution, emphasizing that the newly established administration is in favor of a presidential system.

Ahmet Davutoglu made the announcement in an address to the parliament in Ankara on Wednesday and said his government seeks to introduce a charter 'that upholds freedoms.'

The move is believed to give President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sweeping powers.

A presidential system would lead to a more “efficient and dynamic” rule, the prime minister added while reading from the program of the new government, which was installed on Tuesday.

Earlier in November, Ibrahim Kalin, Erdogan’s spokesman, said the Ankara government might hold a national referendum, if necessary, on possible changes to the constitution aimed at expanding presidential powers.

He said the president believes such amendments can make Turkey “jump up a league.”

Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), founded by Erdogan, won a resounding victory in the November 1 snap elections and regained its parliamentary majority, securing 317 out of 550 seats in the legislature.

In his first speech following the AKP’s victory, Erdogan renewed the bid that many analysts believe is aimed at consolidating his grip on power, calling on the parliament to address the issue of constitutional changes as a priority.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (AFP photo)

“Solving the issue of a new constitution was one of the most important messages of November 1,” the Turkish president said during a televised address to the nation.

Fears of authoritarian rule

Political opponents to President Erdogan fear that granting sweeping powers to the president could put too much power in the hands of Erdogan, a leader they already consider too authoritarian.

Opponents and human rights groups accuse Erdogan of trying to stifle opposition media critical of the president or government policies.

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