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Iran Press TV

Turkish top court rejects opposition's appeal against referendum results

Iran Press TV

Tue Apr 25, 2017 1:18PM

Turkey's highest administrative court has declined to hear an appeal by the main opposition party against the acceptance of unstamped ballots in the recent referendum on expanding President Tayyip Erdogan's powers.

On Tuesday, the Council of State, which handles complaints and appeals against state and public institutions, said it had no jurisdiction over the case.

According to the state-run Anadolu news agency, the court's decision was taken on a majority of votes, but the Council of State was not immediately available for comment.

In the April 16 referendum, the "Yes" campaign won over 51 percent of the vote, while the "No" campaign gained nearly 49 percent.

The Republican People's Party's (CHP) lawyer Atilla Kart formally submitted the petition with the Council of State on Friday afternoon over the last-minute decision by the High Electoral Board (YSK) to accept unstamped ballots as valid.

The news comes after Turkey's highest electoral authority, the YSK, on Wednesday rejected an appeal, which had been made by the main opposition parties over allegations of vote-rigging.

Earlier, CHP's deputy leader, Bulent Tezcan, said the party would file a case urging the annulment of the YSK's decision to allow the rule change.

He had earlier called for the outcome of the referendum not to be finalized until the case was concluded. The results are expected to be confirmed on April 27 or 28.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim slammed the moves as "futile" and said there was "no point in wasting more of everyone's time."

Yildirim told reporters in Ankara that it was "not the democratic way to go to court, to make complaints to fix the people's decision."

The CHP is also assessing whether to take the appeal against the referendum result to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

On Thursday, Turkey's Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said the ECHR has no jurisdiction to rule on appeals against the result of the recent referendum in the country.

Major Turkish cities have been the scene of anti-government protests since the results of the referendum have been announced.

Supporters of the fresh constitutional changes argue that they will modernize the country, but opponents fear a possible authoritarian rule.

Under the new system, the office and position of prime minister would be scrapped in Turkey and the president would be granted executive powers to directly appoint top public officials, including ministers, and assign one or several vice presidents.

Under the amendments, Turkey's next presidential and parliamentary elections will be held simultaneously on November 3, 2019 and the head of state would have a five-year tenure, for a maximum of two terms.

The constitutional changes would mean that Erdogan could stay in power for another two terms until 2029.

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