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Turkey to become presidential republic

CCTV.com

04-17-2017 14:21 BJT

(Source: CGTN)

Turkey has voted YES in a referendum that will see the country swap its parliamentary system of governance for a presidential one. As a result, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will be given sweeping new powers.

The results of the referendum have sparked heated debate, with some analysts claiming the move would cause further divisions in Turkish society. However, others have celebrated what they believe represents a new beginning in Turkey's democratic history.

In Turkey half the country is celebrating, the other half is devastated. Following a very tight referendum race in Turkey… according to unofficial results, the Yes campaign has won. Turkey is set to transform into a Presidential System that will give the President sweeping new powers.

With the new changes the president will be able to appoint cabinet members, issues decrees, choose senior judges and dissolve parliament. The new system would also abolish the prime minister’s office and place power under the control of the president.

In front of AK Party headquarters, Turkish flags were raised high with crowds chanting Recep Tayyip Erdogan – in support of the president.

Erdogan was quick to declare victory.

“Today's constitutional changes, I am wishing they will be good for our nation. Our nation once again showed maturity by going into polling stations and they voted with their free will on those changes which were approved by the parliament,” he said.

Despite a win – critics are pointing out that the difference is very small… stressing that in three major cities Istanbul, Izmir and the capital Ankara – the majority voted for No.

Turkey’s main opposition party, the Republican People's Party or CHP announced they would contest the validity of 60% of the ballots due to unconfirmed reports that a large number of votes did not have official stamps. CHP leader Kilicdaroglu also criticized the Supreme Election Council’s decision to accept unsealed ballot papers.

“The Supreme Election Council has left a shadow on the people’s decision. They have turned the referendum into a debate. This is unbelievable – as the election council is supposed to be responsible for the security of the referendum,” he said.

Another group appealing the results, the Kurdish People’s Democratic Party or HDP claims voter fraud was linked to nearly four percent of the ballots.

The polarization within the Turkish society has been very clear during the campaign process. While yes voters believe the new system could strengthen Turkey – no voters have been arguing, a one-man rule threatens the country’s democracy.

The Supreme Election Committee is expected to deliver the official results in about 11 days after reviewing all objections.