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.