Here's why Turkish opposition parties are contesting the referendum results

Apr 18, 2017, 01:50
Here's why Turkish opposition parties are contesting the referendum results

A major global organization delivered a harsh verdict on the fairness and transparency of Turkey's constitutional referendum, adding further doubts on a vote that gave the country's president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, vast new powers.

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek told Reuters on Monday he expected the "noise" between Ankara and Europe should die down after the European elections cycle. The chairman of the State Duma's global affairs committee, Leonid Slutsky, believes that the outcome of the Turkish referendum, in which the supporters of the presidential type of government gained the upper hand with a slight majority, will cause no harm to relations of partnership with Russian Federation.

A ballot is handed to a voter inside a polling station in Ankara on Sunday.

He also said an unprecedented decision by the country's electoral board to accept as valid ballots that didn't bear the official stamp was taken following a complaint by an official from the governing party. The Republican People's Party (CHP) questioned the legitimacy of the results, saying the country's electoral authority had made a decision to "change the rules in the middle of the game".

Erdogan's political opponents say the constitutional changes would remove checks and balances on his power.

But even as Erdogan's supporters set off fireworks to celebrate their victory, Turkey's main opposition party said they will challenge numerous votes.

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The government declared a state of emergency in the wake of the failed coup attempt last July that left more than 200 people dead. "We expect especially the countries we see as our allies to tune their ties with our country in line with our fight against terrorism and sensitivities of Turkey", Erdogan said. He said the HDP was challenging the results in "hundreds" of ballot boxes.

Erdogan's push for an executive presidency succeeded with 51 per cent voting for it.

They have also demanded a recount claiming that there had been voting irregularities. "The result will depend on how far the opposition will take their claim of irregularity in the voting, and what the worldwide reaction will be".

The package of 18 amendments would give the president the authority to draft the budget, declare a state of emergency and issue decrees overseeing ministries without parliamentary approval.

Critics of the changes fear the move will make the president's position too powerful, arguing that it amounts to one-man rule, without the checks and balances of other presidential systems such as those in France and the US. Since now, the prime ministerial power planned to be abolished and replaced with a presidential scheme.

With almost all ballots counted, the "yes" vote stood at 51.41 percent, while the "no" vote was 48.59 percent, according to the state-run Anadolu Agency. Supporters of the "no" vote complained of intimidation, including beatings, detentions and threats. In a statement, the head of the YSK said the official results will be released after the opposition's objections have been considered. Turkey's electoral board confirmed the "yes" victory.