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Vote expanding Erdogan powers ‘valid’


The head of the electoral body says, the result of the referendum that grants sweeping new powers to the President of Turkey is valid. Sadi Guven was speaking after the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) cited irregularities, including the use of unstamped ballot papers. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s push for an executive presidency succeeded with just over 51 per cent of the vote.

The win was met with both celebrations and protests across Turkey. The CHP has demanded a recount of 60 per cent of the votes. But Mr Guven told reporters today that the unstamped ballot papers had been produced by the High Electoral Board and were valid. He said a similar procedure had been used in past elections. Three of Turkey’s biggest cities – Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir – all voted No to the constitutional changes.

Opposition supporters took to the streets of Istanbul to bang pots and pans – a traditional form of protest – in a series of noisy demonstrations.

Meanwhile, flag-waving supporters of Mr Erdogan celebrated as their President praised them for their historic decision that could keep him in office until 2029. With 99.97 per cent of ballots counted, the Yes campaign had won 51.41 per cent of the votes cast, while No had taken 48.59 per cent. Turnout was said to be as high as 85 per cent.

Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek said there would be no early elections following the result. Mr Simsek told media that the Parliamentary vote would be held as scheduled in 2019.

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