Turkey’s supreme election board announces official charter referendum results
AFP photoTurkey’s Supreme Election Board (YSK) published the official results of the April 16 referendum on constitutional amendments in the Official Gazette on late April 27.
Voters went to the polls on April 16 to decide whether to approve changes to the country’s constitution, which also includes a shift from the current parliamentary system to an executive presidency.
The “yes” campaign won with 51.41 percent, while the “no” vote stood at 48.59 percent, the official results showed.
A total of 48,936,604 votes were regarded valid, and the turnout was 85.43 percent, the Official Gazette said.
The number of “yes” voters were 25,157,463 while the number of “no” voters were 23,779,141.
Separately, the board also released a decision explaining the reason for rejecting petitions submitted by three political parties to annul the referendum. Ten out of 11 board members voted against the appeals last week after petitions over irregularities were filed by main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and the leftist Patriotic Party (VP).
The board said in a statement that it had decided to accept unstamped ballot papers before the boxes were closed for the vote counting process, adding that the decision was objective, and in line with the principle of equality and impartiality.
“In accordance with the requirements of a democratic society, the right of citizens to participate in the governance by voting should be protected against all kinds of obstacles. For this reason, the right of citizens to vote is a right that must be protected in cases where it does not violate election security,” the statement said.
The YSK stressed that the mistakes of the ballot box officials who did not stamp the ballot papers in certain locations should not obstruct the people’s right to vote.
After the election board rejected the opposition parties’ appeal, the CHP then appealed to the Council of State, urging the court to suspend the official referendum results until the end of the legal process.
The court, however, also rejected the appeals saying no appeal against YSK decisions could be made at any court.
The CHP said it would appeal the referendum results to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
The constitutional changes put to the referendum have been discussed since Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was voted in as president in August 2014, marking the first time the president was elected by a popular vote.
An 18-article reform package was passed by parliament in January by 339 votes in favor - nine more than needed to take the proposals to a referendum.
With the changes in the constitution, wide-ranging executive powers will be handed to the president and the post of prime minister will be abolished.
The president will also be allowed to retain ties to a political party.
Other changes will see the minimum age for parliamentary candidates reduced to 18 and the number of lawmakers in parliament rise to 600.
Simultaneous parliamentary and presidential elections for a five-year term are scheduled for November 2019.