Turkey’s Council of State rejects main opposition’s appeal over referendum results
ANKARAThe Council of State rejected an appeal by the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) on April 25 to repeal a Supreme Election Board (YSK) decision to change the legal criteria of the validity of unsealed ballots on April 16, the date of the referendum approving a shift to an executive presidential system.
The Council of State’s decision was taken with a vote of four in favor and one against.
In its preliminary justification, it said it was not possible to appeal the decisions of the YSK regarding elections, while indicating that it will later provide a more detailed written justification for its ruling.
The CHP last week appealed to the Council of State to annul the April 16 referendum result. Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım described its efforts as “futile” and called on the CHP to “respect the result” of the referendum.
“We are appealing to the Council of State, requesting the repeal of the initial rule of YSK that deemed unsealed ballot papers valid,” CHP Deputy Chair Bülent Tezcan said in a written statement on April 21.
The CHP also requested that the YSK not announce the official referendum result until the Council of State had evaluated the appeal and passed a final ruling on the contested results. However, the YSK denied the CHP’s request on April 24, saying it would announce the official results without waiting for final confirmation from the Council of State.
The CHP says the YSK’s decision breached Turkey’s electoral law, adding that there were irregularities during the vote-counting process that cast a shadow over the legitimacy of the votes.
“The YSK is not a legislative organ. It has the obligation to implement the law. But unfortunately on April 16, the YSK not only cast a shadow on the referendum, it also brought its legitimacy into question with the decision it took despite the law,” CHP Deputy Chair Tekin Bingöl said at a press conference on April 21.