Turkish opposition challenges presidential powers vote

A member of Turkey's main opposition party says the party plans to go the country's top court to challenge the electoral board's 10-1 decision to uphold the results of the referendum expanding the president's powers.

But there was anger and shock after the Supreme Election Board (YSK) made a last-minute decision to accept ballot documents in envelopes without an official stamp, which the opposition argues opened the way for fraud.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday he is to travel to Washington on May 16-17 to meet United States counterpart Donald Trump, the first meeting since Trump's inauguration, Reuters reports.

In response, CHP deputy chairman Bulent Tezcan said his party was considering taking its appeal to Turkey's Constitutional Court or the European Court of Human Rights.

Turkey's election authority on Wednesday rejected opposition requests to cancel the referendum result.

Prime Minister Binali Yildirim speaking to the media in Ankara.




"What we are seeing is actually an attempt to consolidate state power in Turkey", said Halil Karaveli, a Sweden-based senior fellow at the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute and the Silk Road Studies Program.

Following this decision, the CHP said it would not recognize the result of the plebiscite and would "explore every opportunity" to overrun it, mentioning in particular that it could file a complaint to the Turkish Constitutional Court and the ECHR.

"No court can undo/change the decisions of the nation", he tweeted.

(AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis). Supporters of the "NO" vote, ( "Hayir" in Turkish) participate in a protest against the referendum outcome, in Istanbul, Friday, April 21, 2017. It cited precedents in which it had accepted unstamped ballots as valid due to the incompetence or lack of training of local ballot box officers who had failed to stamp them in time for elections.

Cezar Florin Preda of the joint mission of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) said the late changes in counting procedures "removed an important safeguard".

Unofficial results show the Yes campaign won with 51.41 percent, while the No vote stood at 48.59 percent. Ataturk's grandiose mausoleum in Ankara draws foreign dignitaries, tourists with selfie sticks and schoolchildren who gaze at honor guards in steel helmets. But the personality cult that grew around him has very gradually been fading as current President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in power since 2003 as alternately prime minister and president, has harked back to the glory days of the height of the Ottoman Empire to whip up patriotic sentiment.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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