The polls have closed in Turkey’s referendum to grant sweeping new powers to the president. More than three quarters of the ballots have been counted and partial results put the Yes camp in front.
However, early results from Kurdish areas point to a No vote and the percentage against the changes is gaining. State-run Anadolu agency now puts the Yes vote at 52% (No on 47%) with 90 per cent of ballots opened down from earlier when it was reporting 54%. The biggest change comes from the biggest city, Istanbul, with 88 percent of ballot boxes opened, the No vote was at 50.04% and the Yes at 49.96%.
In Ankara the No vote has pulled ahead to just over 50%. The deputy prime minister admitted that the Yes camp has not won as many votes as expected, but is leading nonetheless.
Europe Elects puts the projected results at a narrow win for the Yes on 51% with 95% of ballots counted and provides a good overview of support for the referendum among Turkish populations living around in Europe.
Ahead of the ballot, opinion polls showed a narrow win for the Yes, to replace the country’s parliamentary democracy with an all-powerful presidency.
Some 55 million people were eligible to vote and some observers are reporting up to 80% turnout.
The opposition has questioned the legitimacy of the vote after a last-minute decision by the electoral board to accept unstamped ballots as valid votes. “The High Electoral Board has failed by allowing fraud in the referendum,” CHP deputy chairman Bulent Tezcan told reporters at the party’s headquarters in Ankara.
The outcome of the vote could have important consequences for EU-Turkey ties. On the eve of the referendum President Tayyip Erdogan reiterated a pledge to review relations with the bloc and a migrant deal should the vote go in his favour.