Turkey vote plan vetoed
President vetoes reform that would have let people directly elect head of state.
Last Modified: 25 May 2007 15:38 GMT

Sezer's veto of the proposed reform had
been widely expected [EPA] 

Turkey's president has vetoed a constitutional amendment under which the country's head of state would be elected directly by the people instead of by parliament members, his office said.
Ahmet Necdet Sezer vetoed the proposed reform on Friday, a decision widely expected, returning the package of reforms to parliament for further consideration.
The amendments constitute a change of the state system, for which there is "no justifiable and acceptable reason or necessity", a statement from the president said.
At present, parliament elects the president for a non-renewable seven-year period.
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Plans for Turkey's president to be directly elected by the people for a five-year term, and renewable for a further five years, were backed earlier in May by more than two-thirds of members in the 550-seat assembly.
The ruling AK Party tried to push through the reform in a direct appeal to voters after Abdullah Gul, Turkey's foreign minister and the party's presidential candidate, failed to secure parliament's backing to become president.
Recept Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish prime minister, had already said that his government would push the planned reform through parliament, unchanged, for a second time if Sezer vetoed the law, possibly opening the way for a referendum on the subject.
Sezer cannot veto legislation a second time if it is unchanged; he must either approve the law or call a referendum.
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