July 22, 2014 / 12:27 PM / in 4 years

Turkey's Erdogan says wants to see more power in hands of president

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said he wanted to see the powers of the presidency boosted, adding that he expected his ruling AK Party to propose a new constitution after parliamentary polls in 2015.

Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan addresses members of parliament from his ruling AK Party (AKP) during a meeting at the Turkish parliament in Ankara July 22, 2014. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

Erdogan is hoping to become Turkey’s first directly elected president in a vote on Aug 10 and has made little secret of his desire to see the largely ceremonial role imbued with far greater clout if, as expected, he wins.

His critics fear he may use the role to tighten his grip on political power, putting at risk more than a decade of growth and stability.

“I wish to see my country move to a presidential system but I cannot say whether my party will agree to this at that time,” Erdogan said during a televised interview late on Monday.

“If not a fully presidential system, a semi-presidential system can also be possible. That way decision making... will be able to work faster and with greater ease,” he added, without giving further details.

Erdogan said it was “no secret” that his AK Party wanted to redraft the constitution and would push for changes if it performs well enough in next year’s general elections.

Previous efforts at constitutional reform failed when negotiations with the opposition broke down. Changes to the constitution must be approved by a two-thirds majority in parliament - more than the 58 percent the AKP currently controls.

Erdogan has dominated Turkish politics for more than a decade and seen the country rise from a relative economic backwater to the 17th largest economy in the world.

But his reputation has suffered in the wake of brutally suppressed anti-government protests last year and corruption allegations that have dogged his inner circle in recent months.

Reporting by Gulsen Solaker and Ayse Sarioglu; Writing by Jonny Hogg; Editing by Hugh Lawson

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