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Turkey has approved a constitution bill that will extend the President's powers. Opponents say it is a step closer to an authoritarian state. If passed, PresidentTayyip Erdogan could stay in office until 2029. In a secret ballot overnight Friday, 339 lawmakers voted in favor and 142 voted against the bill.
President Erdogan is expected to approve the bill next week, before putting the reforms to a referendum in the Spring. It will allow the President to issue decrees, declare emergency rule, appoint ministers and top state officials, and dissolve Parliament. Powers, the opposition say, strip away balances to Erdogan's power.
Analysts say the new system will spark controversy between the President and the Parliament. Erdogan assumed the presidency, a largely ceremonial position, in 2014, after over a decade as Prime Minister. Since then, pushing his powers to the limit, he has continued to dominate politics. Critics accuse him of increasing authoritarianism with the arrests and dismissal of tens of thousands of judges, police, military officers, journalists, and academics since a failed military coup in July.