Turkish electoral board rejects request to annul referendum

A man reads a newspaper with images of Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and a map showing the results of Sunday referendum in Diyarbakir Turkey Monday

A man reads a newspaper with images of Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and a map showing the results of Sunday referendum in Diyarbakir Turkey Monday

Donald Trump congratulated his counterpart while the European Union kept its distance.

"The way president Trump is approaching these matters makes us happy", Erdogan told CNN in an interview.

Describing the accusations as "strange", he added: "They are accused of provoking people to question the legitimacy of the "Yes" in the referendum".

A member of Turkey's main opposition party says the party plans to go the country's top court to challenge the electoral board's 10-1 decision to uphold the results of the referendum expanding the president's powers.

"We demand the cancellation of this referendum", Tezcan said.

Mehmet Hadimi Yakupoglu, the main opposition Republican People's Party's representative at the board, said they would take the decision to the constitutional court and then to the European Court of Human Rights if necessary. Hundreds of people are queuing in front of Turkey's election board in capital Ankara to submit petitions requesting that the electoral authority reverse a controversial decision during Sunday's referendum to accept ballots without official stamps, as required by Turkish law.

She confirmed that the authority chose to accept ballots without official stamps late in the day, adding that it "significantly changed the ballot validity criteria, undermining an important safeguard and contradicting the law".

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To the dismay of opposition parties and "No" supporters, the YSK made a last-minute decision on Sunday to accept ballot documents in envelopes without an official stamp.

The narrow victory of the "Yes" campaign in Sunday's referendum handed Erdogan sweeping new powers - most of which will come into force after 2019 - but was bitterly disputed by his rivals.

Erdogan told CNN he would be happy to have a face-to-face meeting with the new American leader "and take our relationship forward".

Approved by just 51.3 percent to 48.7 percent, the referendum's narrowly won and contested result will expand Erdogan's presidential role with significant constitutional authority while limiting the power of parliament. Erdogan argues that concentration of power in the presidency is needed to prevent instability. Turkey's main opposition party urged the country's electoral board Monday to cancel the results of.

HDP deputy chairman Mithat Sancar said the vote was also undermined by the fact that the campaign was held under emergency rule while the party's co-leaders were under arrest, that its candidates for polling station monitors were rejected, and that state resources were used in the "Yes" campaign.

Declining to congratulate the Turkish president, the European Union executive's second official response since the vote instead focused on observer findings that the vote was skewed in Erdogan's favour without a proper legal framework and with late changes in ballot counting. But it said that had failed to happen, and that evidence of irregularities had therefore not been properly archived.

On its website, the YSK gave four examples of cases in previous decades where unstamped ballots had been accepted at individual ballot boxes. But those cases only affected several hundred votes and the decision was taken days after the vote and only once the possibility of fraud had been ruled out.

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