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Turkish election commission rejects calls to annul referendum

22 April 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 filed formal requests Tuesday to void the results over voting irregularities, particularly an electoral board decision to accept ballots without official stamps, as required by Turkish law.

"This is was a vote without legitimacy", said Bulent Tezcan, deputy chief of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP).

Turks on Sunday voted by a narrow 51.4 percent margin to change their constitution and grant President Tayyip Erdogan sweeping new powers. But the worldwide electoral monitor said that while the referendum's technical processes were well administered, there were key issues related to media coverage and the circumstances under which the vote occurred, such as Turkey's ongoing state of emergency enacted after a failed coup d'etat attempt past year.

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The head of Turkey's Supreme Election Board (YSK) has given assurances that the objections to Sunday's referendum results will be evaluated and investigated in full.

On Monday, Peskov told reporters that the Kremlin sees the referendum as "absolutely a sovereign affair of the Turkish Republic", and called to respect the choice made by Turkey at Sunday's referendum on expanding presidential powers.

Turkey blames Gulen and his supporters for orchestrating the July 15 coup attempt, a charge he denies.

Late changes in counting procedures "removed an important safeguard and were contested by the opposition", the report added.

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Global election monitors, including the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, have expressed concern over the way the vote was carried out.

In addition, changes to Turkey's executive branches will effectively abolish the position of prime minister, turning Erdogan's presidential role from a largely ceremonial one to an active one.

"The referendum took place under inappropriate conditions and under pressure from the state of emergency", said HDP Spokesperson Osman Baydemir referring to the ongoing martial law that has been imposed in Turkey's Kurdish southeast. "After our president and Trump confirmed a meeting in May, [US Secretary of State Rex] Tillerson and I will set a date", Cavusoglu said.

In contrast, the US President, Donald Trump congratulated his Turkish counterpart personally on the phone on Monday in a conversation in which they discussed recent developments in Syria, the US response to the chemical attack in Syria and "agreed on the importance of holding Syrian president Bashar al-Assad accountable".

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Turkish election commission rejects calls to annul referendum