A presidenti­al parliament


Parliament re-convenes for the first time under the new system.

What should we expect?

After brief sessions in July to enact the paid military service law and the law to replace the state of emergency, the parliament is set to reconvene on October 1. The 27th iteration, which was formed after the June 24 elections, will include the highest number of political parties in 19 years, when the 21st Term entered parliament with 10 political parties. The current 8-party structure, including the AK Party, CHP, HDP, MHP, GOOD Party, Felicity Party, Democrat Party and Grand Union Party, will now wrestle with the Parliament Bylaw to find ways for parliament­ary proceeding­s to operate more efficientl­y.

However, some have complained that amendments to the Bylaw should have been made earlier and now, with the presidenti­al system already in place, difficult obstacles stand in the way of the parliament’s proper functionin­g. For instance, it is unclear how the legislativ­e process will work and whether the ministers will participat­e in committees and plenary meetings during the process of amending the Bylaw. Rumors are the AK Party may refrain from bringing the controvers­ial arrangemen­ts to the parliament until a compromise is reached and an internal regulation change is made.

On the other hand, despite the Bylaw problem, there are important regulation­s on the parliament’s agenda, including 2019 Budget. According to the Constituti­on, the budget should be sent to the Parliament by October 17 and enacted by the end of the year. The 11th Developmen­t Plan, which has been in the works for some time but was put on hold during the transition to the Presidency, has to be sent to the parliament and debated there.

Is the parl ament hobbled?

Though the presidenti­al system was officially launched with the inaugurati­on of President Erdogan in July, how it will function will be seen with the beginning of the new legislativ­e year. Since the new system does not have a Cabinet, the draft law will be eliminated. Laws introduced by MPs will be debated directly. Under the rules of the new system, if the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (TBMM) passes a law that contradict­s a decree issued by the President, the law of the Assembly will be valid. All these arrangemen­ts are interprete­d by the AK Party as provisions that strengthen the hand of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey.

However, opposition parties claim that the Parliament­ary Bylaw prepared by the AK Party in order to comply with the Presidenti­al System contains details that undermine AK Party’s claim that ‘checks and balances will be strengthen­ed.’ For example, the provision requiring bills to be submitted to the presidency for review is seen as a underminin­g the parliament’s authority. The effective and efficient work of the parliament in the new era is only possible with a new Parliament­ary Bylaw enacted with a full consensus of the ruling coalition and the opposition.

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