Votes favouring Turkish constitutional changes that would give President Tayyip Erdogan sweeping new powers narrowed to 51.7 percent after almost 95 per cent of ballot boxes were opened, the state-run Anadolu news agency said on Sunday. According to the agency, votes against the constitutional changes have taken the lead in the country’s three biggest cities Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir.
Although the votes favouring the constitutional changes had registered 63 per cent support after a quarter of the ballots had been tallied, the lead got narrowed in the final stages of an increasingly tight count.
If the referendum sees the “Yes” side emerging as the winner, it would replace the country’s parliamentary democracy with an all-powerful presidency. In addition to sweeping powers, a “Yes” vote would also give the president the right to dissolve parliament and issue executive decrees and state of emergencies. Erdogan would be in office until at least 2029 if this development takes place.
According to critics and the main opposition party, the amendments would give too much power to one individual, insisting that it will undermine the separation of powers in the government.
Turkey’s main opposition party and says it will challenge 37 percent of the ballot boxes counted in Turkey’s referendum to increase the president’s powers. The pro-Kurdish opposition party also said that it plans to object to two-thirds of the ballots.
“Since this morning, we have determined some 2.5 million problematic votes,” Republic People’s Party Deputy Chairman Erdal Aksunger said.
With inputs from Reuters and AP