Everything Wrong with the Presidential System

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In this Op Ed, Harun Yahya says that the Turkish presidential system endorsing a federative system would destroy the unitary structure of Turkey and cause disintegration.

Aerial view of Istanbul, Turkey. Photo-Ahmad Nawawi/Flickr
Aerial view of Istanbul, Turkey. Photo-Ahmad Nawawi/Flickr

Here’s ten Q&A which discuss in detail the nuances of a presidential system and why it’s a threat for a country like Turkey.

Is the presidential system an advanced form of government?

The presidential system has no visible superiority over any other system of governance. On the contrary, because of the way broad powers are collected together in a single individual, many practices are solely reminiscent of dictatorships.

In some African countries, the presidential system is a more euphemistic name for dictatorship. In Latin America it represents government by the militarist, bureaucratic and political elite. In the Middle East, it is another name for antidemocratic rule by a single sect or tribe. In the republics that emerged from the collapse of the USSR, it is a form of government by the modern communist party and politburo. Control is in the hands of organized crime groups and a few families.

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Is the presidential system necessary for economic development?

Only three of the world’s 20 wealthiest countries in terms of per capita income are governed by presidential systems. On the other hand, 36 of the 50 poorest countries are governed by presidential systems. Germany, Italy and Japan, which emerged from the Second World War in ruins, and Great Britain, its economy shattered by that war, are again among the world’s 10 wealthiest countries, and all have parliamentary regimes. The huge economic growth in Turkey under AKP governments since 2003 took place under a parliamentary regime.

Economic development is not a consequence of a governance system. By the leave of God, administrative staff whose hearts are full of love of God, of nation and country, and a society with lofty spiritual values will achieve such success.

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Is a presidential system without a state or federal system possible?

Some countries today have formed by the coalescence of different federal states. Even if they lack a common union of hearts and a common cause, these federal states have had to come together in order to stand strong against external threats and establish sound security policies. These are the specific conditions in which presidential systems are founded. With the exception of military dictatorships, the idea of the presidential system is to allow different ethnic groups to go their own way in order to hold federal structures together. The result of this system is powerful local administrations that gradually begin pulling away from the center and give rise to inequalities. The president is independent of local policies. That gradually encourages and reinforces separatist discourses. Although this is well-known, the presidential system is used for federations in the absence of any alternative in order to establish unity.

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Does Turkey really need a presidential system in order to be better governed?

With the 1982 Constitution, the military gave the president preventive powers over the executive. Various strategically important appointments were made conditional upon presidential approval. A similar authority was also given to the Constitutional Court, which became able to block legislation and executive power with powers reminiscent of those of a superior senate.

With the 2010 referendum however, and the president being chosen by popular vote, the stratagems of the secret state apparatus became a thing of the past. Changes made in the High Council of Judges and Prosecutors and Constitutional High Court law through wide-ranging judicial reform based on ECHR criteria will further strengthen the state of law. These changes and more can be enshrined in the new constitution if necessary. But there is no need for such a wide-ranging change as a move to a presidential system. If the source of the problem is the legal system, then the solution lies in judicial reforms, not in changes to the nature of government.

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Are the PKK and Öcalan opposed to a presidential system?

The PKK has based its strategy of division and its aims on the amendments to be made in the new constitution. In the new constitution to be drawn up, efforts are being made to achieve the first steps toward a break-up through issues such as powerful local administrations, autonomy and a federal system that will be introduced through a presidential system. That is why they are planning to take part directly in the upcoming elections, despite knowing they cannot pass the 10% threshold when they stand as a party and will inevitably lose. When they fail to pass the threshold, the AKP will have all the seats of deputies from the provinces of the Southeast. Some HDP officials have already stated that they will set up their own alternative assemblies if the people of the region cannot be represented in the national parliament. They think that they can thus easily influence international opinion and be able to declare autonomy. On the other hand, Abdullah Öcalan knows that the presidential system being raised by the AKP will bring about a federal structure, which is why he has been advocating that system for many years.

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Will the presidential system prevent coups?

The presidential system is in fact one that prepares the foundations for coups. Misuse of the powers given to presidents subsequently gives rise to social opposition and unrest. Every president, who cannot be removed before his term is up, thus acquires powerful enemies.

On the other hand, presidents deprived of party backing also become isolated in office. Winning the presidency results in that person having broad powers. All power then changes hands when the presidency changes hands and that leads many sinister groups into illegal organizations. There is no need for these to have any armed backing. This century is one in which we witnessed many “postmodern” coups.

Hundreds of military coups took place in countries with presidential systems in the 20th Century. African countries were notorious for coups occurring almost like clockwork in the post-colonial era; let us not forget Middle Eastern countries that changed their presidents through tribal wars, Latin American countries in which generals overthrow generals and former Soviet republics with their mafia-backed coups are all governed under presidential systems.

Is the statement “The presidential system does not lead to dictatorship” a correct statement? 

The most important danger of the presidential system is that some selfish people or groups with a love of office and ulterior motives become unwilling to relinquish it. Of course, there is nothing wrong with people of faith with a powerful love of God, nation and people enjoying wide presidential powers. However, if people with a devilish character become presidents, the result will be a totalitarian dictatorship:  World history is full of hundreds of such instances. Those who have Mr. Erdo?an, who has protected the nation and people for 15 years, in mind when they espouse the presidential system must not ignore the potential dangers that may arise under extraordinary circumstances when, in the future, he will no longer be around.

The transition from a presidential system to a dictatorship would not take place when everything in the garden is rosy. That happens under extraordinary conditions such as domestic turmoil, economic crisis or the threat of war. As a matter of fact, these conditions are sometimes created artificially. Wars and domestic turmoil are triggered; economic crises are created; unsolved killings follow hot on one another’s heels. Our recent history is full of such activities on the part of communist secret state apparatuses.

What is the extend of truthfulness of the following statement; “The presidential system is successfully applied in such an advanced country as the United States. All the power stands with the Presidents”?

President Obama, as the phrase goes, is experiencing a congressional coup. He is unable to introduce any laws. Under Republican control, Congress has twice made Obama unable to pay federal salaries. The government briefly closed up shop in 2013. The Republican wing, who now controls both houses of Congress, invited the Israeli prime minister without telling President Obama, a Democrat;  They literally parade that the reins of power lie with them. President Obama is sitting out his term alone in the Oval Office.

This is not something unique to Obama. American presidents have always been people who enforce the policies of the secret state apparatus. They have little initiative of their own. They are surrounded by secret state bureaucrats and the heads of the CIA and the FBI. The doors of the White House swarm with weapons lobbyists and deep state agents.

Presidents making their own decisions can cost them their lives. Four U.S. presidents have been assassinated in the last 150 years and one died from a suspected poisoning. 15 Presidents have been subjected to attempted assassinations. Among the targets of those failed assassination attempts were the Bushes, both father and son, Clinton, Obama and Reagan. The culprits are never foreign agents. They have all been of American origin.

If we also add in Nixon, who lost office due to the Watergate scandal, Johnson who couldn’t get a candidacy because of the deepening quagmire of the Vietnam War and Clinton who was left a lame duck by the Lewinski scandal, then it will be clearly seen how the U.S. presidential system only wants puppet presidents.

How true is it the claim that states; “France is the cradle of democracy, and it has a presidential system”? 

France is today on its Fifth Republic. The first two collapsed because the Napoleons, uncle and nephew, turned their presidential powers into those of emperors. The Third Republic came to an end with the fall of France in 1940 and the Fourth Republic collapsed with a ‘softly softly’ coup by General de Gaulle, supported by the National Assembly and the army. Today’s constitution is the post-coup constitution of de Gaulle.

In other words, the semi-presidential system did not come about by being chosen by the people with advances in democracy. It was imposed from above by soldiers wishing to concentrate power in their own hands.

Similar situations have occurred in South Korea, Brazil, Argentina, Chile and all other countries governed under presidential systems. The most common elements of presidential systems are coups, military regimes, assassinations and totalitarian regimes.

Will the presidential system not lead to fragmentation?

The American and European secret state organizations that have for years desired to break Turkey up regard the transition to a presidential system as the first step in that objective. They calculate that under intense pressure, an elected president will divide the country into autonomous states or into a federal structure. They have the PKK, the world’s largest group of hired assassins and a quasi-mafia organization, which they have used for bloody murder of all kinds for the last 35 years, as a tool in their hands. The best thing would therefore be to discuss a presidential system only after the PKK, and thus the threat of separation, has been eliminated, never to return.

The writer has authored more than 300 books translated in 73 languages on politics, religion and science. He may be followed at @Harun_Yahya and www.harunyahya.com

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