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Referendum in Turkey: reduction of democracy, increase of power concentration

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After 9 months of the failed coup against the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the country's political order has taken a turn this Sunday with a referendum. After the vote, Turkey's system will cease to be based on a parliamentary government to be a presidentialist, which means that power will fall almost completely on Erdogan.

A 51.3% of the votes in favor of the new presidential system, compared to 48.7% of the "No", and with 99% of the votes counted, Erdogan says that these changes in the Turkish Constitution will promote a stronger country and will contribute to the fight against Kurdish militants and the self-denominated Islamic State. However, the final results will be announced in 12 days.

The presidential system approved by a little more than half of the Turks means that the parliament will no longer be the one with the greatest decision-making power; it will be the president, therefore, the president could dissolve parliament, declare a state of emergency, appoint and dismiss ministers and officials of the highest judicial body, the president may also issue decrees without the need for them to be approved by congress, and the current Turkish president has the possibility of remaining in power until 2029 if he wins the 2019 – 2024 elections.

Reactions

Opposition to the Turkish government has denounced irregularities in the conduct of the referendum and has warned about the establishment of a totalitarian system, for which opposition will challenge the result, however, through the continuity of the state of emergency it is unfeasible for there to be mobilizations in the streets. It should also be noted that during the referendum that took place last Sunday, there was a shooting at a polling station in Diyarbakir where three people died.

For the West, and specifically the European Union, this result has been singled out as the demise of democracy in Turkey. They also say that with such a tight margin that has left the country polarized, it is essential to be aware of the upcoming decisions taken under the new system. Angela Merkel, the chancellor of Germany urges to avoid division. Donald Trump congratulated the Turkish president on Monday.

Announcements

During his victory speech in Istanbul, Recep Tayyip Erdogan gave light on a possible referendum for Turkey to retake to the death penalty, which has been suspended since 2002.

Another of Erdogan's announcements is the possible request for a new referendum for the Turkish people to decide whether or not their country is part of the European Union. It is recalled that Turkey has relations with the EU since 1963. Then in 1987 it applied for formal membership, and talks began in 2005, but since 2007 these negotiations have been paralyzed following the Cyprus conflict.

“In view of the result of the consultation and the profound implications that pose constitutional reforms, we call (…) the Turkish authorities to seek a national consensus as large as possible” said the EU on a press release signed by President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, head of European diplomacy, Federica Mogherini, and Johannes Hahn the Commissioner for European Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations.

Source: Contagio Radio

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