Turkish Constitutional Referendum in News

IAS Prelims 2023

A constitutional referendum was held throughout Turkey on 16 April 2017 on whether to approve 18 proposed amendments to the Turkish constitution that were brought forward by the governing Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).

If approved, the office of the Prime Minister would be abolished and the existing parliamentary system of government would be replaced with an executive presidency and a presidential system.

The number of seats in Parliament were proposed to be raised from 550 to 600 while the president was proposed to be given more control over appointments to the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK).

The referendum was held under a state of emergency that was declared following a failed military coup attempt in July 2016. Early results indicated a 51–49% lead for the “Yes” vote.

The Supreme Electoral Council allowed non-stamped ballots to be accepted as valid. The main opposition parties decried this move as illegal, claimed that as many as 1.5 million ballots were unstamped, and refused to recognize the results. The electoral board has stated that the official results might be declared in 11 to 12 days.