Turkish electoral board rejects all referendum appeals by opposition

ANKARA (KDN) – Turkey’s Supreme Election Board (YSK), the top office for the final decision on any poll disputes, rejected on April 19 all opposition objections to the results of the April 16 constitutional referendum.

Both the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Kurdish issue-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), the third largest party in parliament, had submitted legal objections to the board, mainly due to its decision to not deem ballot papers without official seals invalid.

The YSK stated on April 19 that it inspected appeals from the two parties in parliament, as well as the Vatan Party, and rejected them all, with only one affirmative vote from its 11 members.

“There is a crisis of legitimacy of [the referendum],” said CHP Deputy Chair Bülent Tezcan after the decision in a televised interview.

The CHP will decide on its next steps against the decision, Tezcan said, adding that the isssue “is the problem of the whole country.

The CHP had said it would take the case to the International Court of Human Rights if the YSK rejected the application.

The petition for the unsealed ballots to be accepted came from Justice and Development Party (AKP) lawmaker Recep Ozel, just ahead of poll closing time.

Critics have said the petition was accepted because the government knew the ‘No’ vote was winning.

The government and Erdogan have rejected the allegations of fraud and irregularities saying the referendum was held in a democratic manner.

Sunday’s referendum has divided the country in half after a marginal victory blighted by allegations of voter fraud and irregularities granted the country’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sweeping powers.

Thousands of people have been protesting the result amid claims that 2.5 million unsealed votes were accepted following the YSK’s decision.

38 protestors were detained in house raids early Wednesday morning, Turkish media has reported.