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Turkish election board rejects appeals to annul referendum

21 April 2017, 01:38 | Taylor George

The European Commission called on Turkey on Tuesday to investigate "alleged irregularities" in Sunday's referendum boosting the powers of President Tayyip Erdogan, New Europe writes.

The petitions had been filed by the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) and the Patriotic Party.

A key point of contention rests on the election board's late decision to count unstamped ballots, which would have been invalidated in past elections and which accounted for about 1.5 million votes.

Turkish voters were asked Sunday to vote on an 18-article constitutional reform package put forward by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) - founded by Erdogan - that would transform the country's parliamentary system into a powerful executive presidency.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said his plans to assume sweeping new powers do not make him a dictator.

"The main opposition party not recognizing the results is not an acceptable thing", Yildirim said.

"It is clear that the High Electoral Board is not receiving its power from the people, the law or the constitution but rather from a specific centre, a specific political authority", CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu said in a speech, accusing the body of "changing the rules mid-game".

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He said the remarks made following the referendum had gone too far and that the report lacked respect for Turkish voters.

A prosecutor will now consider whether to press charges against Guven. Observers from the Council of Europe and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe said the referendum campaign had been conducted on an "unlevel playing field".

The German government has also questioned the vote after the European Union called for a probe into the result.

A spokesman for European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said claims from neutral observers of election irregularities had been "examined attentively" in Brussels.

Speaking about his victory in the referendum, Erdogan said that a win was always a win.

"What matters for us is not so much the first reaction from whomever in Turkey, directed more at domestic politics, but whether the responsible Turkish authorities really deal seriously with the criticism voiced publicly by the OSCE election observer mission, which was meant seriously and researched seriously". "Where dictatorships exist, you don't have to have a presidential system", he said.

European officials have firmly declined to congratulate Erdogan's win, unlike the USA president.



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