The Council of State rejected an appeal by the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) on April 25 to repeal a Supreme Election Board (YSK) decision to change the legal criteria of the validity of unsealed ballots on April 16, the date of the referendum approving a shift to an executive presidential system. The Council of State’s decision was taken with a vote of four in favor and one against.In its preliminary justification, it said it was not possible to appeal the decisions of the YSK regarding elections, while indicating that it will later provide a more detailed written justification for its ruling.
The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has determined a total of 11 alleged voting irregularities in the April 16 constitutional referendum on shifting Turkey to an executive presidential system.The last-minute decision of the Supreme Election Board (YSK) to accept unstamped ballot papers as valid is included in the CHP’s report of alleged irregularities, prepared based on the applications of polling clerks in the first two days after the vote. The YSK decision to accept unstamped ballot papers “unless it can be proven that they were brought from outside the voting room” sparked a major debate on the results of the referendum, in which the “yes” campaign narrowly emerged as the winner with 51.4 percent of the votes.
The referendum result is dubious and the office that cast doubt on the referendum is the Supreme Board of Elections (YSK), main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has said, accusing the election watchdog of violating the constitution and manipulating the poll results. Slamming YSK’s earlier decision that deemed unsealed ballots valid on the referendum, Kılıçdaroğlu accused the members of the top election board for being influenced by a political authority. He said the decision was against the bylaw which “clearly states that the unsealed ballots will not be deemed valid”.