Turkey’s main opposition party has said it will challenge the country’s referendum result after the President won a vote to expand his powers. The Republican People’s Party (CHP) has questioned the legitimacy of the close result, citing irregularities in the electoral process.
In Turkey’s historic constitutional referendum Sunday, Yes won with 51.34 percent of the vote.Unofficial results showed Yes with 51.34 percent — 24,789,242 votes — while No had 48.66 percent, or 23,499,390 votes.
Sunday’s referendum asked voters to choose Yes or No on an 18-article bill that would see the country switch from a parliamentary to a presidential system, among other changes.
Turkey’s president has congratulated the heads of political parties which supported the Yes campaign in Sunday’s referendum.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s push for an executive presidency succeeded with just over 51 per cent of the vote. The win was met with both celebrations and protests across Turkey.
The CHP is refusing to accept the Yes victory and is demanding a recount of 60 per cent of the votes, criticising a decision to pass unstamped ballot papers as valid unless proven otherwise. Three of Turkey’s biggest cities – Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir – all voted No to the constitutional changes. Opposition supporters took to the streets of Istanbul to bang pots and pans – a traditional form of protest – in a series of noisy demonstrations.
Meanwhile, flag-waving supporters of Mr Erdogan celebrated as their President praised them for their historic decision that could keep him in office until 2029. With 99.97 per cent of ballots counted, the Yes campaign had won 51.41 per cent of the votes cast, while No had taken 48.59 per cent. Turnout was said to be as high as 85 per cent.
Responding to Sunday’s result, the European Commission issued a statement urging Mr Erdogan to respect the closeness of the vote and to seek the broadest possible national consensus when considering the far-reaching implications of the constitutional amendments.
Under the changes, after the next elections due in 2019, the Prime Minister and Cabinet will be abolished and Ministers will be directly appointed by the President and accountable to him.