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Turkey's Referendum 'Does Not Live Up to Council of Europe Standards' - PACE

Sputnik News

15:32 17.04.2017(updated 17:29 17.04.2017)

The Turkish referendum on constitutional amendments did not live up to the standards of the Council of Europe, its legal framework was inadequate for a genuinely democratic process, Cezar Florin Preda, head of the delegation from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) said Monday.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – According to the preliminary results of the referendum held in Turkey on Sunday, 51.3 percent of voters supported the proposed constitutional amendments, which, if passed, will expand presidential powers over the judicial and legislative branches of the government.

"In general, the referendum did not live up to Council of Europe standards. The legal framework was inadequate for the holding of a genuinely democratic process," Preda said, as quoted by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.

Turkey Constitutional Referendum Campaign Dominated by 'Yes' Camp – OSCE Mission

Turkey's constitutional amendments referendum campaign was dominated by the "yes" camp in media coverage, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe's (OSCE) observer mission said in its turn.

OSCE's Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) noted the "curtailed" freedoms under Turkey's post-coup state of emergency in which the vote was held on Sunday.

"The two sides did not have equal opportunities to make their case to the voters," Head of the ODIHR limited election observation mission Tana de Zulueta said.

De Zulueta said the office's monitoring demonstrated "the 'Yes' campaign dominated the media coverage."

"This, along with restrictions on the media, the arrests of journalists and the closure of media outlets, reduced voters' access to a plurality of views," the head of mission said.

Other concerns included a snap change to voting procedures, in which the election commission declared the validity of stampless ballots, as well as the bundling of all 18 proposed reforms in a single question, inadequate information on the actual proposals and their possible downsides and a lack of transparency with no civil society observers present at polling stations.

The bundle of constitutional changes proposed granting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan powers that include appointing top judges, declaring a state of emergency, dismissing the parliament, remaining party leader while in power and serving extra terms.


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