Good Party leader Akşener says Turkey should go back to parliamentary system

The leader of the Turkish opposition nationalist Good Party said on Friday she supported the return to an improved parliamentary system from the executive presidency that came into force last year.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan took on a raft of new powers after presidential and parliamentary elections last year, which were approved in a 2017 referendum. But opposition parties are against the new system, which analysts say makes it hard for Erdoğan to avoid responsibility for anything that goes wrong.

“Turkey cannot carry the weight of the presidential system. An improved parliamentary system should be brought back,” the Cumhuriyet newspaper quoted Good Party leader Meral Akşener as saying.

The comments come after a former minister in Erdoğan’s ruling Islamist party suggested the threshold for winning the directly elected presidency should be lowered from the present 50 percent, plus one, to 40 percent. 

The fractured nature of Turkish politics and the popularity of a string of opposition parties are likely to make it harder for Erdoğan to win the presidency in one round of voting when the presidential election is next due in 2023.

Akşener’s Good Party has 39 deputies in the 600-seat parliament and received 10 percent of the vote in the 2018 elections, but allied with other opposition parties in local elections this year, helping opposition candidates to score notable wins across the country.