Turkey opposition seeks referendum annulment

Brunilde Fioravanti
Aprile 21, 2017

The spokesperson for the European Commission, Margaritis Schinas, said the call comes after Turkey rejected worldwide observers' criticism of the referendum on Sunday, in which over 51 per cent of voters supported granting greater powers to President Recep Erdogan.

Worldwide election monitors, including from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, noted a series of irregularities, and said the decision to accept as valid ballots without official stamps undermined safeguards against fraud and was contrary to Turkish law.

Electoral board head Sadi Guven said the objections would be evaluated Wednesday. Turkey's main opposition party urged the country's electoral board Monday to cancel the results of.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, delivers a speech during a rally of supporters a day after the referendum, outside the Presidential Palace, in Ankara, Turkey, Monday, April 17, 2017. "Everyone should respect the outcome, especially the main opposition".

"Turkey's mainly Kurdish southeast and its three main cities, including the capital Ankara and the largest city Istanbul, looked set to vote No, after a bitter and divisive campaign, " a local newspaper reported on Sunday.

Bulent Tezcan, deputy chairman of the opposition Republican People's Party, or CHP, said the party filed a formal request seeking the referendum's annulment due to voting irregularities. The head of the board said it had received many complaints that polling stations didn't have stamps and made the decision to accept the ballots after an appeal from a ruling AK Party official.

(AP Photo/Petros Karadjias). People walk in central Istanbul's Taksim Square, Tuesday, April 18, 2017. He said the party would use all legal paths to challenge the vote.

U.S. President Donald Trump has congratulated President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan after he won a narrow referendum on constitutional amendments that replaced a parliamentary system with an executive presidency with vastly enhanced powers for himself.

Given the close results of the April 16 referendum in Turkey, the only possible path to national consensus is compliance with basic democratic norms and respect for the commitments arising from Turkey's membership of worldwide organisations, Bulgaria's Foreign Ministry said on April 18.

Erdogan has said the vote on Sunday ended all debate, however, telling European observers who criticised it: "Talk to the hand".

The Council of Europe's observer mission said as many as 2.5 million votes might have been compromised and if so, the election result would have been changed.

Erdogan rejected accusations that he supported the new powers out of a desire to empower himself rather than improve Turkey's political system.

Trump and Erdogan agreed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is responsible for the attack.

Election authorities said preliminary results showed 51.4 per cent of voters had backed sweeping new powers for Erdogan, something he says is needed to prevent instability.

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that Erdogan and Trump would meet in person next month, before a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit.

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