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Turkey: OSCE monitors say referendum held on 'unlevel playing field'02:51

Turkey: OSCE monitors say referendum held on 'unlevel playing field'

Turkey, Ankara
April 17, 2017 at 17:01 GMT -00:00 · Published

Turkey's constitutional referendum "took place on an unlevel playing field", election monitors from the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) stated from Anakara, Monday, following a 'Yes' result in Sunday's vote.

"Voters were not provided with impartial information about key aspects of the reform," stated Cezar Florin Preda, head of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).

"While the technical aspects of the referendum were well administrated and referendum day proceeded in an orderly manner, late changes in counting procedures removed an important safeguard and were contested by the opposition," he added.

Tana de Zulueta, the head of the OSCE's Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights said her team had observed "the misuse of administrative resources and the obstruction of efforts by parties and civil society organisations supporting the 'no' campaign."

"The campaign rhetoric was tarnished by some senior officials equating 'no' supporters with terrorist sympathisers," she concluded.

The OSCE report comes as Turkey's opposition parties, the pro-Kurdish People's Democratic Party (HDP) and the Republican People's Party (CHP) have claimed that electoral fraud took place during the referendum.

The allegations come a day after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed a narrow victory in the constitutional vote, with 51.36 percent voting 'Yes' and 48.64 percent of voters choosing 'No.'

The 'Yes' result means that the new draft constitution, approved by the Turkish parliament in January, will introduce a package of 18 constitutional amendments, paving the way for a presidential system of government.

The CHP and HDP were opposed to the reforms, arguing that they would significantly increase Erdogan's power. The president could potentially remain in his role until 2029.

Turkey: OSCE monitors say referendum held on 'unlevel playing field'02:51
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Turkey's constitutional referendum "took place on an unlevel playing field", election monitors from the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) stated from Anakara, Monday, following a 'Yes' result in Sunday's vote.

"Voters were not provided with impartial information about key aspects of the reform," stated Cezar Florin Preda, head of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).

"While the technical aspects of the referendum were well administrated and referendum day proceeded in an orderly manner, late changes in counting procedures removed an important safeguard and were contested by the opposition," he added.

Tana de Zulueta, the head of the OSCE's Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights said her team had observed "the misuse of administrative resources and the obstruction of efforts by parties and civil society organisations supporting the 'no' campaign."

"The campaign rhetoric was tarnished by some senior officials equating 'no' supporters with terrorist sympathisers," she concluded.

The OSCE report comes as Turkey's opposition parties, the pro-Kurdish People's Democratic Party (HDP) and the Republican People's Party (CHP) have claimed that electoral fraud took place during the referendum.

The allegations come a day after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed a narrow victory in the constitutional vote, with 51.36 percent voting 'Yes' and 48.64 percent of voters choosing 'No.'

The 'Yes' result means that the new draft constitution, approved by the Turkish parliament in January, will introduce a package of 18 constitutional amendments, paving the way for a presidential system of government.

The CHP and HDP were opposed to the reforms, arguing that they would significantly increase Erdogan's power. The president could potentially remain in his role until 2029.

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