Location Turkey Turkey

Turkey vote campaign conducted on ‘unlevel playing field’ – OECE, PACE

Turkey voted on Sunday in a referendum on granting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan extra powers that was won by the ‘Yes’ camp but disputed by the opposition.

“The referendum took place on an unlevel playing field and the two sides of the campaign did not have equal opportunities,” said Cezar Florin Preda of the joint mission of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).

“Late changes in counting procedures removed an important safeguard,” said Preda, who headed the PACE delegation, referring to the election authorities’ decision to permit ballot papers without an official stamp.

“The legal framework, which is focused on elections, remained inadequate for the holding of a genuinely democratic referendum,” the monitors said in a joint statement.

Preda also said the fact that the referendum was held under a state of emergency imposed in the wake of last year’s failed coup infringed upon a “fundamental freedom”.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan took just minutes to insist his country could bring back the death penalty after appearing to win a referendum on his powers, The Express reports.

With 98 per cent of the votes counted many now fear Erdogan has been given permission to shape Parliament to his wishes.

According to the agency, Yes stands at 51.49%.

The ruling AK Party began celebrating early, despite the tight race.

A win for Erdogan will represent one of the most dramatic overhauls of the country’s democratic system since the republic was founded in 1923.

The yes vote will also mean Erdogan can abolish the post of prime minister – a role he had in 2003.

 

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