Turkey's parliament approves amendments to Constitution in first reading

The Turkish parliament voted on Tuesday to press on with debate about a constitutional reform package that would expand the powers of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, taking another step on the path towards an executive presidency.

The initial vote was passed with 338 votes, indicating that some deputies from the ruling AK Party and the nationalist opposition MHP, which backs the reform, had not voted in favor.

The bill needs the support of at least 330 deputies in the 550-seat assembly to go to a referendum, expected in the spring. The AKP has 316 deputies eligible to vote and the MHP 39.

Under the reform, Erdogan will be able to appoint and dismiss government ministers, take back the leadership of the ruling party, and govern until 2029, Reuters reports.

Debate on the individual articles is set to begin on Tuesday and the AKP plans to complete debate of the package by Jan. 24.

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