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Turkish parliament approves controversial constitutional reforms

Turkish parliament approves controversial constitutional reforms
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By Seamus Kearney
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339 MPs voted in favour of giving more executive power to the country's president, 142 were against, with no abstentions

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Controversial constitutional reforms have been approved in Turkey.

A total of 339 MPs in parliament voted in favour of giving more executive power to the country’s president, while 142 were against, with no abstentions.

Turkey's parliament passes polemic bill to expand the powers of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's office. https://t.co/8m6vf0Ul3T

— The Associated Press (@AP) January 21, 2017

Supporters say more presidential authority is needed in uncertain times, but critics say it is too much power in the hands of one man.

A national referendum on the changes will now be held.

Binali Yildirim, the Turkish Prime Minister, told parliament: “Today we, as representatives, have accomplished the task given to us. We are now entrusting this to the people, its actual owners. Now it is the people’s word.”

#UPDATE Turkey's parliament backs controversial bill that would dramatically expand the powers of President Erdogan https://t.co/uF5MLej1zg

— AFP news agency (@AFP) January 21, 2017

The opposition has slammed the reforms as a big step backwards.

Ali Seker, an MP from the opposition CHP party, told reporters: “The state of law, the secular democratic republican regime is completely eradicated.

“They want to drag Turkey rapidly into a period of instability where there is no separation of power, no balance and no control.

“If the public is well informed, the answer will be no.”

On Friday there was mayhem and fighting in the parliament during debate on the reforms after an opposition MP handcuffed herself to the rostrum.

Mayhem in Turkish parliament after MP handcuffs herself to rostrum https://t.co/58n5H6yKo2

— Seamus Kearney (@seamuskearney_) January 20, 2017

Amid Fistfights, Turkey’s Parliament Backs a New Constitution https://t.co/ZzaXGQju4g

— The New York Times (@nytimes) January 21, 2017

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