1.27 million voters to cast ballots for first time: Supreme Election Board
Oya ARMUTÇU – ANKARA
AFP photoSome 1.27 million new voters will be registered to take part in the April 16 referendum on whether to shift Turkey to an executive presidential system, the Supreme Election Board (YSK) announced on its website on April 7.
The total number of registered voters is 55.32 million, up from the 54.50 million voters registered for the Nov. 1, 2015 general election, a rise of 2.6 percent.
Istanbul, the capital Ankara, and the Aegean province of İzmir are the provinces with most voters, while the eastern province of Erzurum, the Central Anatolian province of Çankırı, the Black Sea province of Sinop, and the Aegean province of Kütahya have the fewest voters.
The voting process will continue from 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on April 16 in the eastern provinces of Adıyaman, Ağrı, Artvin, Bingöl, Bitlis, Diyarbakır, Elazığ, Erzincan, Erzurum, Gaziantep, Giresun, Gümüşhane, Hakkari, Kars, Malatya, Kahramanmaraş, Mardin, Muş, Ordu, Rize, Siirt, Sivas, Trabzon, Tunceli, Şanlıurfa, Van, Bayburt, Batman, Şırnak, Ardahan, Iğdır and Kilis.
The voting process will continue from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. in 49 other provinces across the country.
Meanwhile, Turks living in the U.K. started to vote in Turkey’s constitutional referendum on April 6.
Voting by registered overseas citizens started in the morning at polling stations in London and Edinburgh.
Turkish citizens who are registered to vote can cast their ballots at any foreign polling station as long as they prove their identity with a photographic ID showing a Turkish ID number.
Turkey’s Consul General in London, Çinar Ergin, said voting had continued with no problems so far, noting that Turkish expatriates had showed great interest in the referendum.
Ergin said there were more than 90,000 registered Turkish voters in the U.K.
“There are between 4,500 and 5,000 more registered voters compared to previous elections,” he said.
The polls at Hammersmith’s Novotel Conference Center and the Edinburgh Consulate’s work office will remain open between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. local time until 9 April.
Approximately 2.9 million Turkish citizens abroad will be able to vote on the proposed constitutional changes, marking their fourth trip to the polls since Turkish citizens abroad were first able to vote in Turkish elections while overseas.
The government-supported proposals involve replacing the current parliamentary system with an executive presidency tightening President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s grip on power. The other major changes include lowering the age to become a lawmaker to 18 from 25, increasing the number of seats in parliament from 550 to 600, closing down military courts, and holding same-day parliamentary and presidential elections every five years. The Turkish president will also formally be allowed to retain ties to his or her political party.