Turkey Votes to Expand Powers Amid Fraud Claims

Official Count Says 51.37% Yes, 48.63% No

The final count from Turkey’s High Electoral Board on the contentious referendum to massively expand President Erdogan’s powers showed a narrow win, 51.37% in favor, and 48.63% opposed. The victory came as something of a relief to the ruling party, as polls showed widespread opposition, but also was well short of the sweeping win Erdogan had predicted.

Either way, the opposition is heavily criticizing the vote, and claiming there was substantial fraud, particularly in the form of ballot box stuffing by the ruling party, with large numbers of ballots added to the final count that were never stamped at a polling place.

The High Electoral Board insisted that they’d just forgotten to stamp them at some polling places, and insisted that they would count all of the unstamped ballots unless they could be proven to be fraudulent. It is expected these unstamped ballots were overwhelming in favor of the expanded powers.

Polling results showed that the “no” vote carried all three of Turkey’s largest cities, and that “no” overwhelmingly won in the Kurdish southeast of the country. There was substantial concern, particularly among the Kurds, that the virtually unchecked power given to Erdogan by this vote would turn him into an outright dictator.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.