We are now elaborating on the case that Erdoğan would win the presidential election and the opposition would have the parliamentary majority in the June 24 General Election. What will happen as to the assembly?
Once again our reference point will be the April 16, 2017 constitutional amendment referendum which was approved by the 51.41 percent of the votes. By the simultaneous elections –both the general and the presidency ones- that will be held in June 24, the amendment proposed by the constitutional referendum will start the new governmental period of presidency, namely “the presidential government system”.
The opponent half of the voters were complaining about the limitations that would be imposed upon the authorities of the Grand National Assembly, ‘a weak assembly’ and an omnipotent presidency that would certainly be happen. Behind this complaint there laid the remarkable articles proposed by the constitutional amendments on the operations of the assembly. Thus the constitutional amendments concerning the assembly should be reviewed:
NO SUPERVISION AUTHORITY TO THE ASSEMBLY
The Turkish Grand National Assembly’s duty and authority to supervise the board of ministers and the ministers was taken away.
From then on the vetoed laws by the president would be approved ne varietur by the absolute majority vote of the assembly.
“During the parliamentary break ups and holidays” the TGNA who used to assemble upon immediate calls of the board of ministers, from then on could only be assembled by the call of the president.
The TGNA hereafter will be able to hold a general debate that is only concerning the society.
A criminal investigation for the president and a succeeding trial of her/him in the Supreme Court will only be possible by a very qualified majority vote of the TGNA.
Now we are going to scrutinize the functioning of the assembly in the new system and the meaning of these amendments:
NO MORE INTERPELLATIONS
The new system includes no interpellation which was one of the ways to bring down the ministers and the board of the ministers. But just for the president, the vice-presidents and the ministers will only be able to be made the investigation requests.
Based on a treason accusation proposed by at least one-third of the TGNA members, in the case that three-fourth of the members decides accordingly, criminal liability will be possible for the president in the new system. An investigation against the president can be requested by a motion claiming crimes by her/him with absolute majority of the TGNA. The assembly has to discuss the motion in a month at the latest and will be able to settle on the investigation with the secret votes of three-fifth of the members. If the investigation is decided to open, the members of the commission of 15 will be decided by lot among the candidates of every party who are presented in three times proportion to the numbers of their parliamentarians. The commission will present its report on the investigation to the speaker’s office in two months at the latest. The report will be discussed in the general assembly and the decision for referring the investigation to the Supreme Court will be able to be made with secret votes of two-third of the members. The president who is indicted cannot decide to go for an election. If the president is found guilty for any crimes that violate the eligibility by the Supreme Court, her/his presidency will be ended.
The written questions in request for responds by the parliamentarians and the ministers will from then on be submitted to the presidency and the vice presidencies. The parliamentarians will no longer submit verbal motions. The TGNA will use her supervision authority by parliamentary inquiries and general debates.
‘AGAINST ALL ODDS’
Constitutional lawyer Prof. İbrahim Kaboğlu argues that a remarkable amount of the Assembly’s authorities passed to the presidency by amendments of the April 16 referendum, when he explains the meaning of these novelties. Kaboğlu draws attention to the following article of the constitutional amendment: “Establishment and removal of the ministries, their duties and authorities, organizations, establishment of their central and provincial organizations are regulated by the presidential decrees.” Kaboğlu says that “this authority is reformation of the Republic of Turkey” and predicts that in the forthcoming the assembly under the control of the president will experience ‘big troubles’. According to Kaboğlu, the constitution of majority in the Assembly by the Nation Alliance (the Republican People’s Party, the Felicty Party, the Good Party, the Democratic Party) and the Peoples’ Democratic Party will reveal the “unsustainable character” of the constitutional amendments. Kaboğlu answers the following question with the words “Yes, there will be; against all odds”: “The president will have to be contented by her/his authorities, the Assembly, on the other hand, will say that ‘Ok, you have won the presidency, but I have constitute the majority’ and there will exist a balance between them. Thus, will there be a radius of action for the opposition that would have the parliamentary majority against the president, in spite of the constitutional amendments of April 16, 2017.” And he adds “there are of course gray areas, areas of conflicts, open areas in the constitutional amendments but a strong opposition can strengthen the TGNA. Within this period, a concerted opposition is essential for Turkey.”
‘MONOPOLY OF POWERS’
Constitutional lawyer Prof. Hikmet Sami Türk asserts that with the constitutional amendment the presidency monopolizes the powers of legislation, execution and jurisdiction. In the case that Erdoğan wins the presidency and the opposition gains the parliamentary majority, Türk deems that there will be no radius of action for the opposition. According to him, the opposition can only get the psychological superiority against Erdoğan in this scenario and he continues: “Because, by the ordinance power the president will be able to do whatever she/he would want. She/he will even be able to legislate. Besides he will not need to have parliamentary approval. An assembly whose authority of supervision is removed at all has nothing to do against the president.”