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Turkey's Electoral Board Rejects Opposition's Call To Annul Referendum

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Turkey's electoral body has rejected a call from the country's leading opposition party to annul the results of a referendum that granted sweeping new powers to the presidency and could allow President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to remain in power until 2029.

The People's Republican Party (CHP) filed the request with the Supreme Electoral Council (YSK) on April 18, challenging the results of the April 16 referendum on grounds that it was "illegitimate" because of voting irregularities -- including the use of unstamped ballot papers.

Turkey's private NTV reported on April 19 that 10 YSK members voted against annulling the referendum, while one member voted in favor of the call.

Turkey's Central Election Committee (CEC) late on April 16 declared that 51.3 percent of votes supported the ratification of 18 constitutional amendments that create a presidential system of government.

Erdogan's critics say the reforms will create a system of one-man rule by eliminating democratic checks and balances.

Erdogan has rejected reports about voting irregularities from European observers, saying Turkey does not "see, hear, or acknowledge the politically motivated reports" of the international monitors.

Based on reporting by NTV, CNN Turk, and Anadolu