Turkish president approves constitutional overhaul bill

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However the election board has yet to officially announce the date.

The referendum "is planned to take place on April 16", Numan Kurtulmus said in comments broadcast on state-run TRT television.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan approved constitutional amendments that would bring drastic changes to the country's political system on February 10, including a shift to an executive presidential system from the current parliamentary system, clearing the way for a referendum to be held on April 16.

The constitutional change will bring a shift of regime change in Turkey with a strong partisan presidential system that will take over all authorities of the prime minister and cabinet.

Mr Erdogan's approval of the legislation comes six months after an attempted coup against him by a rogue military faction, in July past year. The bill would "enable the president to issue decrees, declare emergency rule, appoint ministers and top state officials and dissolve parliament".

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President Erdogan says the reform will provide stability at a time of turmoil and prevent a return to the fragile coalitions of the past.

Erdogan said a "Turkish-type presidential system" would replace the current, two-headed system, in which there is both a president and prime minister.

The new proposed constitution allows for the president to maintain ties to a political party. "Did we found the republic for this", he said.

The Turkish parliament sent the constitutional amendments for the President's approval on 2 February, 12 days after it passed the parliament by exceeding the 330-vote threshold to bring it to a referendum.

The new 18-article constitution would create an executive presidency similar to the system in the United States and France.

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