Published: Fri, April 28, 2017
Worldwide | By Sean Reid

Turkish election board rejects appeals to annul referendum

Turkish election board rejects appeals to annul referendum

The opposition cited possible irregularities in the tight race, especially a decision by the election commission, made while voting was well under way, to count ballots that were not officially sealed.

The Istanbul Bar Association on Wednesday filed a criminal complaint against electoral board head Sadi Guven for "wrongful conduct" and "altering the result of the election".

"This is a serious legitimacy crisis". He said his party would use all the legal ways available to appeal the result. Police have arrested dozens of people suspected of organizing and taking part in the protests, but more were scheduled for Wednesday evening.

Demonstrations against the outcome of a referendum expanding the president's powers are continuing in Istanbul, where protesters are demanding the resignation of the election board that has refused to void the vote.

On Wednesday, the ruling AK Party set out plans for Erdogan to gradually take back the party reins, in a sign it would begin implementing the changes approved in Sunday's plebiscite.

On Sunday, the YSK suddenly announced that ballots that had not been verified as genuine by election officials would be allowed, which led to a protest by the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), which said it would contest the result.

Other alleged violations included the HDP's polling station monitors being rejected, and state resources being used in Erdogan's "yes" campaign, Reuters reported.

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But Bulent Tezcan, deputy chairman of the CHP, told reporters Monday that the party would appeal to the European Court of Human Rights if the electoral body didn't void Sunday's referendum result.

"You can not come to Turkey and interfere in its politics", Cavusoglu said, calling the observer missions' findings "biased".

"The people's will has been reflected at the ballot box, and the debate is over", Yıldırım told his parliamentary group. ". If your ballots are unsafe, that means that regime is not a democracy".

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan will meet U.S. President Donald Trump in May ahead of a meeting of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation alliance, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Wednesday.

Worldwide election monitors, including from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, noted a series of irregularities, and said the decision to accept as valid ballots without official stamps undermined safeguards against fraud and was contrary to Turkish law.

"The OSCE's report has no reliability as their observations lack objectivity and are extremely partial", Cavusoglu told a news conference in Ankara.

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