Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is currently celebrating a referendum win that gives him new extended powers. While the President celebrates, he is not out of trouble yet. The rivals that voted "no" to the referendum are demanding a recount.
A lot of experts consider the referendum as a major turning point in Turkey's history. Not only does it drastically affect the political system within the nation, but it also impacts its direction within the NATO community.
The final count of the "yes" vote amounted to a 51.41%, while the "no" totaled to 48.59%. The big surprise is that President Erdogan's victory is narrower than expected. Early on, President Erdogan had a comfortable lead. The divide occurred suddenly as the number of "no" votes quickly caught up.
According to the ballots, Turkey's largest cities (Izmir, Ankara, and Istanbul) voted "no." It was in President Erdogan’s heartland that the "yes" won by a landslide.
Now the opposition is loudly crying foul play. This coming Monday, the nation's eyes will be on the Council of Europe and OSCE, third party international observers of the referendum voting.
As the "yes" vote won, the new system changes are expected to take their course around November.
President Erdogan is trying to quickly move past the situation by hosting cabinet meetings in the presidential palace. Also, President Erdogan declared that Turkey made a "historic" decision while standing on top of a bus, and in front of the media and cheering supporters.
However, the opposition is nowhere ready to validate President Erdogan’s victory. One of their main concerns is the manipulation of the media's encouragement to vote "yes." Also, the "yes" camp had greater resources at their disposal.
People's Democratic Party and Republican People's Party are the two major parties that voted "no." The two parties also commented that they would appeal the results because of a ballot box counting incident.
According to the two parties, the Supreme Election Board allowed the counting of voting papers with no official stamps. Such decision opened a big doorway to the possibility of fraud.
The People's Democratic Party claims that up to 3% - 4% of the results is possibly manipulated. The Republican People's Party leader states that up to 60% of the ballot boxes could have been tampered. Tampering of the ballot boxes would automatically translate to questioning the legitimacy of the votes contained within each box.
As the final results were publicly announced, sporadic protesters began appearing in some parts of Istanbul. As of the moment, there's no report of violent protesters. Most are just banging pots and pans as a means of voicing out their dissatisfaction.
The biggest concern is that the new system would mean that the office of the Prime Minister is going to be dispensed. Also, executive bureaucracy would be centralized under the office of the President. This would also mean that the President will have the control of appointing ministers.