Turkey PM dismisses referendum fraud claims
Tuesday, April 18, 2017
Turkey's prime minister called on the opposition today to respect the result of a referendum that will give sweeping new powers to the office of the president.
Binali Yildirim made the call during an address to legislators from his ruling party, as the country's main opposition party prepared to apply to the country's highest electoral board to seek an annulation of Sunday's vote which gave President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's "yes'' camp a narrow win.
The Republican People's Party, or CHP, called for the vote on the referendum to be annulled citing a series of irregularities, particularly an electoral board decision to accept ballots that didn't bear official stamps, as required by Turkish law.
Monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, who also listed numerous irregularities, said the move undermined important election safeguards, drawing a harsh rebuke from Erdogan.
"Efforts to cast a shadow on the result of the vote by spreading rumors of fraud are futile and in vain,'' Yildirim said. "The will of the people was freely reflected into the ballot boxes and this business is over. Everyone and all sections _ and the main opposition party in particular_ must show respect. It is wrong to speak after the people have spoken.''
The vote allows Erdogan, who has ruled Turkey first as prime minister and now as president since 2003, to fulfill his long-held ambition for a presidency with executive powers.
The referendum approves 18 constitutional amendments that allow the president to appoint ministers, senior government officials and to hold sway over who sits in Turkey's highest judicial body, as well as to issue decrees and declare states of emergency.-AP