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Turkey to hold referendum on constitutional amendment package on Oct. 21
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07:53, August 01, 2007

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Turkey's Higher Board of Election has set the timetable for a referendum on constitutional amendment package which envisages election of the president by popular vote, the semi-official Anatolia news agency reported on Tuesday.

According to the timetable, the referendum will be held on Oct. 21.

The bill envisages electing the country's president by popular vote, reducing the presidential term from the current seven years to five with a chance to be re-elected, reducing the tenure of parliament to four years instead of the current five, and shifting the quorum in the 550-seat parliament from 367 to 184.

However, the referendum will not affect the election of outgoing President Ahmet Necdet Sezer's successor, who will still be elected by the new parliament elected on July 22.

The bill was first approved by the previous parliament on May 11 after lawmakers failed to elect a new president in two rounds of voting in late April and early May under the boycott of the opposition parties.

However, President Sezer vetoed it and sent it back to parliament for review.

On May 31, the parliament re-approved the package without any change. As the constitution stands now, Sezer did not have right to exercise a veto twice, he called for a referendum on the proposed reform package.

Source: Xinhua

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