Turkish constitutional referendum, 2017

Turkish constitutional referendum, 2017
Referendum to approve 18 proposed amendments to the Constitution of Turkey
( Full details)
Location Turkey and overseas representations
Date Sunday, 16 April 2017
Results
Votes  %
Yes 25,157,025 51.41%
No 23,777,091 48.59%
Valid votes 48,934,116 98.26%
Invalid or blank votes 865,047 1.74%
Total votes 49,799,163 100.00%
Registered voters/turnout 58,366,647 85.32%
Results by province
Turkish constitutional referendum 2017.png
  Yes —   No
Official result is yet to be declared. [1]
Turkey
 Turkish constitutional referendum 
Sunday, 16 April 2017
Campaigns


Choices ordered according to colour and layout of ballot paper
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Turkey

A constitutional referendum was held throughout Turkey on 16 April 2017 on whether to approve 18 proposed amendments to the Turkish constitution that were brought forward by the governing Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP). If approved, the office of the Prime Minister would be abolished and the existing parliamentary system of government would be replaced with an executive presidency and a presidential system. [2] The number of seats in Parliament was proposed to be raised from 550 to 600 while the president was proposed to be given more control over appointments to the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK). [3] [4] The referendum was held under a state of emergency that was declared following a failed military coup attempt in July 2016. Early results indicated a 51–49% lead for the "Yes" vote. The Supreme Electoral Council allowed non-stamped ballots to be accepted as valid. The main opposition parties decried this move as illegal, claimed that as many as 1.5 million ballots were unstamped, and refused to recognize the results. [5] The electoral board has stated that the official results might be declared in 11 to 12 days. [1]

An executive presidency has been a long-standing proposal of the governing AKP and its founder, the current President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. In October 2016, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) announced its co-operation for producing draft proposals with the government, with the combined support of both AKP and MHP MPs being sufficient to put forward the proposals to a referendum following a parliamentary vote in January. Those in favour of a 'Yes' vote argued that the changes were necessary for a strong and stable Turkey, arguing that an executive presidency would bring about an end to unstable coalition governments that had dominated Turkish politics since the 1960s up until 2002. The 'No' campaign have argued that the proposals would concentrate too much power in the hands of the President, effectively dismantling the separation of powers and taking legislative authority away from Parliament. Critics argued that the proposed system would resemble an 'elected dictatorship' with no ability to hold the executive to account, leading effectively to a 'democratic suicide' and autocracy. [6] Three days before the referendum, one of Erdoğan's aides called for a federal system should the 'Yes' vote prevail, causing a backlash from the pro-Yes MHP. [7] Both sides of the campaign have been accused of using divisive and extreme rhetoric, with Erdoğan accusing all 'No' voters of being terrorists siding with the 2016 failed coup plotters. [8]

The campaign was marred by allegations of state suppression against 'No' campaigners, while the 'Yes' campaign were able to make use of state facilities and funding to organise rallies and campaign events. [9] Leading members of the 'No' campaign, which included many high-profile former members of the MHP such as Meral Akşener, Ümit Özdağ, Sinan Oğan, and Yusuf Halaçoğlu were all subject to both violence and campaign restrictions. The 'Yes' campaign were faced with campaigning restrictions by several European countries, with the German, Dutch, Danish and Swiss governments all cancelling or requesting the suspension of 'Yes' campaign events directed at Turkish voters living abroad. The restrictions caused a sharp deterioration in diplomatic relations and caused a diplomatic crisis between Turkey and the Netherlands. Concerns were also raised about voting irregularities, with 'Yes' voters in Germany being caught attempting to vote more than once and also being found to have been in possession of ballot papers before the overseas voting process had started. [10] [11]

Background

A ballot paper and envelope used in the referendum. 'Evet' translates to Yes while 'Hayır' translates to No.

Introducing a presidential system was proposed by then-Minister of Justice Cemil Çiçek and backed by then-Prime Minister Erdoğan in 2005. [12] Since then, the current presidential system has been openly supported by Justice and Development Party leaders several times, along with a "new constitution". Justice and Development Party vice-president Hayati Yazıcı proposed April 2017 as a date for the referendum. [13]

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