Turkish opposition complains of “illegal acts” in referendum

Turkey’s main opposition complains of “illegal acts” in the referendum as Diyarbakir election officials, under tight security, carry ballots to the electoral board for official canvassing.

ANKARA, TURKEY (APRIL 16, 2017) (REUTERS) – The deputy chairman of Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) said on Sunday (April 16) illegal acts were being carried out in favour of the government, in the country’s referendum on expanding the powers of the presidency.

Erdal Aksunger made the accusation during a news conference in the capital Ankara after vote counting began.

A statement on the High Electoral Board’s (YSK) website hours before polls closed said it would count ballots that had not been stamped by its officials as valid, unless they could be proved fraudulent, citing a high number of complaints that YSK officials at polling stations had failed to stamp them.

In the south-eastern area of Diyarbakir, election officials and their police escorts waited outside the city’s electoral board office under the watch of armed soldiers.

The election officials were carrying bags containing ballots that had already been counted in the polling stations, for the official canvassing to be done in the electoral board office.

With 95 percent of votes counted, the “Yes” campaign lead had narrow from an early wide margin to 51.7 percent of ballots cast.