Turkish Opposition Party Says Authorities Manipulating Referendum Votes Counting
20:16 16.04.2017(updated 20:18 16.04.2017)
One of the main Turkish opposition parties, the Republican People's Party (CHP), said that the authorities are manipulating while counting the votes in the Sunday's referendum on constitutional amendments, Erdal Aksunger, the party's deputy chairman, said.
ANKARA (Sputnik) – According to preliminary results after 90 percent of the votes processed, 52.5 percent of voters supported the constitutional amendments, expanding powers of the country's president.
"There is manipulation of the results. According to our observers, opponents to the presidential system are winning. We receive such results from numerous provinces. Lets protect our choice," Aksunger told the NTV channel.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan voted in the morning in Istanbul, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim in Izmir, while Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu cast his vote in his home city of Antalya. Leaders of the main opposition parties, Kemal Kilicdaroglu of the Republican People's Party (CHP) and Devlet Bahceli of Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), voted in Ankara.
On January 21, the Turkish parliament approved constitutional amendments that would strengthen the presidential powers over the legislature and the judiciary. If approved in the referendum, the president will also be able to remain the head of the political party he represents, have the ability to appoint a number of top judges and declare a state of emergency, which is not allowed by the current legislation. The decision was criticized by opposition parties as a power grab attempt by the president.
Polls closed at 13:00 GMT time in the eastern part of Turkey and an hour later elsewhere. The results of the voting from the eastern regions of Turkey, where the referendum started earlier, are expected to be announced soon.
About 55.3 million of voters were expected to cast their votes at over 160,100 polling stations, with 460 additional ballot stations operating in prisons. Turkish citizens living abroad have voted on the constitutional amendments before the voting day.
Security at the polling stations were maintained by 380,000 policemen. No serious violations have been registered, except for an incident in the south-eastern province of Diyarbakir, where two people were killed in a shooting near a polling station.
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