Turkey to hold constitutional referendum in April: PM

A Constitutional referendum is likely to be held sometime between April 1 and April 20, says Turkey’s Yıldırım, adding that the change has been submitted to President Erdoğan

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said that Turkey’s high electoral board is expected to announce the date this week of a referendum on constitutional changes that would extend the powers of the presidency.

The referendum is likely to be held sometime between April 1 and April 20, Yıldırım told a meeting of officials from the ruling AK Part on Wednesday.

“The change is submitted to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. I believe the president will approve it this week and a concrete date will be set,” he said.

Turkish lawmakers approved a new Constitution on Saturday as deputies completed voting on 18 articles. Proposed changes to the Constitution require a simple majority, or 51 percent, in the referendum.

Constitutional change, in particular the call for a presidential system, has been on the political agenda since Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the former prime minister and AK Party leader, was elected Turkey’s presidency in August 2014.

In the current parliamentary model, Turkish people vote for 550 members of parliament. The government is formed by minimum number of 276 lawmakers.In the proposed presidential system, the electorate would vote for a person to form a government independently of parliament, with no need of a vote of confidence.