Turks give “yes” vote in referendum over constitutional amendments

By Xinhua

Ankara : Majority of Turks gave their “yes” votes in a referendum on Sunday over constitutional amendments, including the election of president by popular vote.

Support TwoCircles

According to the Supreme Election Board (YSK), partial results that came from 45.4 percent of ballot boxes opened showed that nearly 72 percent of Turks voted “yes” to constitutional reforms.

Some 42.63 million voters cast their votes at 134,700 ballot boxes as the voting took place between the hours of 7.00 a.m.-4.00p.m. (0500-1400 GMT)in eastern provinces and between 8.00 a.m.-5.00 p.m. (0600-1500 GMT) in western provinces.

Citizens were able to vote by presenting their voter registration slips and IDs and the authorities painted one finger of the voters with black ink in order to prevent voting more than once.

The constitutional amendment package to be put to vote includes: general elections are held once in every four years instead of five years; the president is elected by popular vote; the presidential term is lowered from the current seven years to five; the president can stand for re-election for a second term; and a quorum of one third, or 184 of total number of lawmakers is required to open a parliamentary debate.

Though the referendum process was faced with difficulties and opposition parties announced to be against the idea of a referendum, the ruling Justice and Development Party had managed to keep the referendum on track and persuaded the Supreme Election Board (YSK) not to halt the process.

YSK President Muammer Aydin announced on Friday that it will impose a fine of 17 Turkish lira (about 14 U.S. dollars) on those who abstain from casting votes in the referendum.