First Constitutional Era of the Ottoman Empire

First Constitutional Era of the Ottoman Empire


The Ottoman Empire's First Constitutional Era was the constitutional monarchy that started on 23 December 1876. It ended on 14 February 1878, with the adoption of the Ottoman constitution of 1876, authored by members of the Young Ottomans. The Tanzimat displeased these Young Ottomans; therefore, they advocated for a constitutional government akin to Europe. The dethronement of Sultan Abdulaziz marked the beginning of the constitutional period. Abdul Hamid II succeeded him as Sultan. The period came to an end when Sultan Abdul Hamid II suspended the Ottoman Parliament and the constitution, restoring his absolute monarchy. There was no party system in the first constitutional era. The Ottoman Parliament (also known as the Ottoman Empire's General Assembly) was viewed as the people's voice at the time, but not as a place for political parties and groups to develop.

The temporary electoral regulations were followed for the Parliamentary elections. The House of Commons was built in two phases. The Chamber of Deputies was the lower Chamber of the bicameral legislature, while the Senate was the upper house. Administrative councils in the provinces made the first selection of deputies ("Meclis-i Umumi"). Following the formation of the General Assembly in the regions, the assembly members chose deputies to create the Chamber of Deputies in the capital. The Chamber had 115 members and represented the empire's millets distribution. There were 69 Muslim millet delegates and 46 non-Muslim millet representatives in the second election. The Senate was the second body, and the Sultan chose its members. There were only 26 senators in the Senate. It was created to take the role of the porte, and the Grand Vizier became the Senate's speaker. Between 1877 and 1878, two elections were held.

First-term (1877)

The members' reactions to the impending conflict were ferocious, and Sultan Abdul Hamid II requested new elections, citing the Russo-Turkish War (1877–1878) as justification.

Second-term (1878)

The second session of parliament lasted just a few days, as Abdul Hamid II closed the parliament following the opening addresses by representatives from Balkan vilayets, alleging civil unrest. Yusif Dia Pasha Al Khalidi, a Deputy from Jerusalem, was elected president of the Chamber of Deputies.

Last updated: 2021-October-27
Tags: Ottoman Empire
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