Incoming Turkey PM vows to work for presidential system under Erdogan

Egypt's Transport Minister Binali Yildirim (right) flanked by his wife Semiha Yildirim, greets supporters as he attends the second extraordinary congress of the AK Party in Ankara, on May 22, 2016.
Egypt's Transport Minister Binali Yildirim (right) flanked by his wife Semiha Yildirim, greets supporters as he attends the second extraordinary congress of the AK Party in Ankara, on May 22, 2016.PHOTO: AFP

ANKARA (AFP) - Turkey's incoming prime minister Binali Yildirim on Sunday (May 22) vowed to make a priority out of implementing the controversial plan of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for a presidential system in the country.

"Turkey needs a new constitution. Are you ready to bring in a presidential system?" Mr Yildirim, who is due to be confirmed as new premier later in the day, told a ruling party congress to cheers from the crowds.

Turkey's current constitution limits the powers of the president but Mr Yildirm said everything had changed after Mr Erdogan in August 2014 became the first Turkish president chosen in direct elections.

"Now that the president is elected by the people nothing can be the same as it was," he said.

With Mr Erdogan, formerly Turkish premier and now clearly the uncontested number one in the country, Mr Yildirim said the priority now had to be to legalise the current "de-facto" situation.

"We have to put an end to this confusion. The way to this is a new constitution and presidential system," he said.

To achieve their goal, Mr Yildirim and Mr Erdogan will have to find a three-fifths majority in the Turkish parliament to call a referendum on the issue, or a two-thirds majority for direct approval.

The ruling party is currently short of either number of seats, meaning it will have to change the composition of parliament through defections or expulsions of MPs or call new elections.