No court can change people’s decision, PM says on referendum results
ANKARAThe main opposition Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) efforts to appeal the referendum results to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) are futile, and the people’s will cannot be changed, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım has said.
“The decision of the millions can only be changed by the people themselves again. So, I think these efforts are in vain. My recommendation is that the main opposition party should accept the national will and work harder for the next elections so they can win people’s favor,” Yıldırım told BBC World’s Zeinab Badawi on April 28.
His comments came after the CHP announced that it would appeal to the ECHR over the referendum, which the main opposition doubts the legitimacy of the votes.
“When people accepted a certain thing, and the main opposition party is not accepting it, would that count? Nobody has the right to overturn the decision made by the people in a court. Neither the ECHR nor the Constitutional Court or any other can change this decision of the people,” Yıldırım said.
When asked about the division in the country between the “yes” and “no” votes since the number of the votes for each camp was close, Yıldırım said the government “needs to embrace both camps.”
“We need to prevent any division in the society. And, we really need to look into why those people said no. And we really should win their hearts. We will definitely work on this,” he said.
Yıldırım also slammed criticisms that the constitutional amendment would pave way for a dictatorship, saying that the criticisms were “quite brutal.”
“What is a dictatorship? Would you hold elections when there is a dictatorship? Would you have political parties? Would people vote in a dictatorship? I really cannot agree with any of these claims. Because approximately 50 million people went to the ballot boxes, voted and made a choice,” he said.
Speaking about concerns over the concentration of the executive power in the hands of the president with the constitutional amendment, Yıldırım noted that with the new constitution “the president will have a mandate but accountability at the same time.”
“This is an important step toward democracy. So, these allegations, these claims, are not fair. And we cannot agree with them. And it is not right that power is concentrated on one man,” he said.
CHP lawmaker appeals to ECHR
Meanwhile, CHP lawmaker Musa Çam made an individual application to the ECHR.
As the ECHR only accepts applications if all domestic legal avenues are exhausted, Çam said the Supreme Board of Election’s (YSK) decision is closed to any further appeals, so the party has decided to refer it to the European Court.
“We have experienced a dubious and unlawful referendum. There is a state where the human rights of 49 million people were violated,” Çam said in a written statement on April 28.
“We will continue our struggle outside and inside the parliament for changing the illegitimate results in a way that it would manifest the true will of the people. In accordance with the decision taken by the CHP’s Central Executive Board, we will make individual applications to the ECHR,” Çam said.
The CHP fiercely opposes the referendum stating that the government used its privileged position during the campaign within the conditions of the state of emergency, depicting the people who have wanted to vote “no” as terrorists and criminalized them. The party also argues that there were allegations of vote rigging, electoral fraud and block voting behavior, and that there were voting irregularities.
Criticizing the electoral board’s decision to accept unsealed ballot papers during the voting period has also drawn criticism from the CHP, which later called the referendum an “unsealed election,” announcing that it will not recognize the results.
Çam stated that he has listed the opposition’s concerns over the referendum in his application, saying that there are “overwhelming evidence that the election was unlawful.”
“We will be pursuing the process with our belief in justice,” he added.