New Turkish PM backs more power to Erdogan

Turkey's incoming PM has backed constitutional change to create an executive presidency and deliver broader powers to President Tayyip Erdogan.

Turkey's incoming prime minister says his top priority is to deliver a new constitution to create an executive presidency, giving President Tayyip Erdogan the broad powers he has long sought.

As delegates from the ruling AK Party on Sunday unanimously elected Transport Minister Binali Yildirim as their new party leader, and therefore the next premier, Yildirim left no doubt that he would prioritise the policies closest to Erdogan's heart.

An ally of Erdogan for two decades, the 60-year-old was the sole candidate at the special congress, called after Ahmet Davutoglu said he would step down this month, following weeks of public tension with Erdogan.

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Yildirim said in a speech a new constitution was necessary to legitimise the existing situation, in what appeared to be a tacit acknowledgment that Erdogan has been gone beyond the presidency's traditionally ceremonial role.

"The most important mission we have today is to legalise the de facto situation, to bring to an end this confusion by changing the constitution," he said. "The new constitution will be on an executive presidential system."

A total of 1411 delegates voted, with 1405 of those votes declared valid. Yildirim won all of the valid votes.

A co-founder with Erdogan of the AKP, Yildirim has been the driving force behind major infrastructure projects in Turkey which were one of the pillars of the party's electoral successes during its first decade in power.

He has been seen as someone who will help pursue two of Erdogan's biggest priorities - the executive presidency and the fight against militants of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in the largely Kurdish southeast.

"They are asking us when the anti-terror operations will end. I am announcing hereby that the operations will end when all our citizens are safe," Yildirim said in an emotional speech.

"Operations will continue without pause until the bloody-handed terrorist organisation PKK ends its armed actions."

Erdogan and his supporters see an executive presidency, akin to the system in the United States or France, as a guarantee against the fractious coalition politics that hampered the government in the 1990s.

His opponents, including some sceptics within the AKP, say he is merely furthering his own ambition.


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Published 23 May 2016 at 6:02am
Source: AAP

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