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Turkish lawmakers scuffle over constitutional amendment

[JURIST] A conflict over constitutional changes in the Turkish parliament became physical Monday as nearly a dozen MPs started fighting on the parliamentary floor after one member criticized Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer [official profile]. The parliament was debating a constitutional change to presidential elections, an amendment Sezer had originally sent back to MPs [JURIST report], saying that it was adopted without enough discussion. The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) [party website, in Turkish; Wikipedia backgrounder], with close ties to Islam, has said that it will push the amendment through again without any changes.

The bill would create a renewable five-year presidential term to replace the current non-renewable seven-year term. According to Turkish law, the amendment must be voted on twice with at least 48 hours between each round of ballots. If the amendment passes both times, the president will not be able to veto it again, but may submit the bill to a popular referendum. AFP has more. Deutsche Welle has additional coverage.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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