OSCE observers say Turkey referendum was plagued by inequality and biased media
- Author: Audrey Hill Apr 18, 2017,
Apr 18, 2017, 0:19
The referendum on constitutional amendments in Turkey on Sunday was not in compliance with the standards of the Council of Europe, worldwide observers from OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) said in a statement.
An global observer mission that monitored the voting also found irregularities, saying the conduct of Sunday's referendum "fell short" of the worldwide standards.
The country's foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said this was the birth of a "truly new Turkey". Germany today warned Turkey against further distancing itself from Europe by reinstating the death penalty after a disputed referendum and urged authorities to seek "respectful dialogue" to heal a divided society. OSCE/ODIHR Delegation Chair Tana de Zulueta said changes in the vote-counting procedure had lifted significant assurances and that it was against the law.
The High Electoral Board at first said it would not accept ballots that were missing ballot commission stamps, But it announced a changed of course after voting was underway Sunday, saying it would accept unstamped ballots "unless they are proven to have been brought from outside".
The winning margin fell short of the sweeping victory President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was hoping for - however it is expected to cement his hold on power and have a huge effect on the country's future.
Giraffe gives birth as millions watch live feed April the giraffe has given birth to a calf in a New York Zoo, as a live internet audience of over a million people watched on.
The prime minister post will be abolished after the 2019 national elections, and term limits for the president will be changed and Erdogan will be allowed to remain in power until 2029.
Opposition parties cried foul on the vote. "This is why the only decision that will end debate about the legitimacy (of the vote) and ease the people's legal concerns is the annulment of this election by the YSK", Tezcan said.
Turkey's three largest cities - Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir - all voted "No", although "Yes" prevailed in Erdogan's Anatolian heartland.
President Erdogan has insisted the changes are needed to amend the current constitution, which was written by generals following a military coup in 1980, to confront security and political challenges in Turkey and avoid fragile coalition governments of the past. "Both the unfair campaign and the substantive reforms that will now be implemented take Turkey away from the prospect of a political alliance with the European Union".
The country's pro-Kurdish party said it may take the case to the European Court of Human Rights if the electoral board does not reverse its decision and nullify the ballots lacking the official stamps.
The office of the French President, Francois Hollande, warned that any referendum in Turkey on the reinstatement of the death penalty would constitute a break with European Union values and commitments.
The new presidential system takes effect at the next election, now slated for 2019.
But there were just as many who were devastated by the result. "So I think it's been very clear that elections are not on the agenda".