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Erdogan clinches victory in Turkish constitutional referendum

Source: ANI
April 17, 2017 09:03 IST
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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has claimed victory in the referendum, which would see the country switch from the parliamentary to the presidential system.

IMAGE: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan greets his supporters in Istanbul. Photograph: Murad Sezer/Reuters

Not only the result will give him new powers as the country’s head of state, but will also extend his influence over the judiciary making him dominant over the Parliament.

The ‘Yes’ campaign won 51.4 per cent of the vote against 48.6 per cent for ‘No’, the election commission said on Sunday in figures quoted by state news agency Anadolu, in a count based on 99.5 per cent of the ballot boxes.

Erdogan congratulated the heads of political parties, who supported him in the ‘Yes’ campaign in Sunday’s referendum.

IMAGE: Supporters of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan celebrate after news bulletins on the outcome of Turkey's referendum on the constitution. Photograph: Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters

The president also thanked the voters, who went to the polls to reflect their choice.

The ‘Yes’ campaign was backed by the ruling Justice and Development Party and the opposition Nationalist Movement Party, whereas the main opposition Republican People’s Party did not support it.

Erdogan was voted to power in August 2014, the first time a Turkish President had been directly chosen by the popular vote.

IMAGE: Supporters of AK party react at the party headquarters in Ankara. Photograph: Umit Bektas/Reuters

The referendum asked voters to choose Yes or No on the 18-article bill. It was passed by the Parliament in January with 339 votes in favour.

Other major changes include lowering the age to become a lawmaker to 18 from 25, increasing the number of seats in the Parliament from 550 to 600, closing down military courts and same-day Parliamentary and Presidential elections after every five years.

The country’s current Constitution was formed in 1983 following a military coup in 1980.

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Source: ANI
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