Turkey referendum: Electoral body to hear objections

Cheryl Sanders
April 24, 2017

Prime Minister and AKP leader Binali Yildirim said Erdogan can rejoin the party he founded in 2001 once official results - expected before the end of the month - are announced.

Opposition parties including the main opposition CHP and the pro-Kurdish HDP had called on the electoral board to annul Sunday's vote, which was narrowly won by the "Yes" camp, because unstamped ballot papers were included.

There have been daily street protests in anti-Erdogan neighbourhoods in Istanbul since Sunday's referendum, which the opposition claims was marred by blatant vote rigging.

For example the illegitimately yes-stamped ballots in the videos were not necessarily counted.

Supporters of the "No" march in Istanbul to submit their petition to call for the annulment of a referendum that approved sweeping constitutional changes boosting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's powers, claiming blatant vote-rigging had swung the result.

Yildirim said the opposition parties have the right to file objections, but "calling people to the street is wrong and is outside the line of legitimacy", Yildirim said, telling CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu to "to act more responsibly".

Mehmet Hadimi Yakupoglu, the Republican People's Party's representative to the High Electoral Board, said the party had asked the board to annul Sunday's referendum "because we weren't able to ensure election safety".

Two global observer missions said the referendum campaign had been conducted in an unfair environment in which opposition voices were suppressed.

A prosecutor will now consider whether to press charges against Guven.

Earlier, 19 people were detained for allegedly using the results of a constitutional referendum as an "excuse" to organize "unauthorized demonstrations", official Anadolu news agency reported.

Turkey's president has been required to remain above party politics, but that condition was removed in one of the referendum's 18 amendments.

They were even cited by Alev Korun, an Austrian member of the Council of Europe observer mission.

Representatives from a coalition of global bodies said the vote took place on an "unlevel playing field", with the "yes" campaign dominating media coverage.

"We look to the government of Turkey to protect the fundamental rights and freedoms of all its citizens", the statement said. "From the German government's point of view, Turkey must ... clear up the questions that have been raised". Erdogan dismissed the concerns of the global observers, telling them instead to "know their place". Observers said this decision, made in the afternoon of election day, removed an important safeguard against fraud.

"We will determine a date for the two presidents to meet in May before the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit as previously confirmed by the leaders", Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters in Ankara.

The U.S. response has been different, with President Donald Trump calling Erdogan shortly after the referendum to congratulate him on his win.

Other reports by iNewsToday