The constitutional commission approved the reforms that would turn the largely ceremonial presidency into one where the president enjoys full executive powers early on Friday.
The Turkish parliament's constitutional commission has passed a draft law seeking a series of amendments to the constitution, including a switch to a presidential system of government long sought by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Its decision followed 10 days of tense debate between the committee's ruling party and main opposition members. If the National Assembly approves the bill, which it is set to discuss in January, a referendum would have to approve the amendment as well, before it becomes law. If enacted, the constitutional reform would bestow executive powers on the president, as well as extending his mandate.
Erdogan has already turned a largely ceremonial presidency into a powerful platform, drawing on his unrivalled popularity, but opponents fear the reform will fuel authoritarianism in the NATO-member and European Union candidate country.
South Korean antitrust agency slaps Qualcomm with $853 million fine
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The bill also proposes lowering the age of candidacy for parliament from 25 to 18 and increasing the number of parliamentarians from 550 to 600 in accordance with Turkey's growing population. Currently, the AK Party has 317 seats in Parliament, while the MHP has 40; meaning the two parties do not hold enough seats in Parliament to pass the proposal directly.
The changes need to secure the support of at least 330 deputies in the 550-seat assembly before being put to vote in a referendum.
General elections would be held every five years, instead of the current four, with the next round held in November 2019.