Turkey’s Sezer vetoes proposed changes to constitution regarding presidential elections

ANKARA, Turkey — As expected, outgoing President Ahmet Necdet Sezer vetoed a constitutional amendment Friday (May 25th) that would that would have allowed the president to be elected by the people instead of by Parliament.
Sezer said there is no need to change the current system, adding that a president elected by popular vote could affect the balance of power, as Parliament is also directly elected. The ruling Justice and Development Party, which sponsored the measure, criticised Sezer’s veto and vowed that Parliament would approve the measure as soon as possible. By law, the president cannot veto the same bill twice, but must either approve it or call for a nationwide referendum on it. Turkey holds parliamentary elections on July 22nd.
In other news, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul urged Iraq and the United States on Friday to do more to destroy Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in northern Iraq. He complained that Ankara was not getting enough help in its efforts to root out the terrorist organisation. Gul said the government’s patience is running out and that Turkey’s military would begin planning an operation against the bases. The Iraqi and US governments have urged Ankara to show restraint. (Zaman – 26/05/07; NTV, BBC, Reuters, AP – 25/05/07)

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