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Turkey’s electoral overhaul sparks boycott calls

Amid ongoing controversy over the integrity of last year’s referendum, the Turkish government’s overhaul of electoral rules erodes further the opposition’s trust in fair elections.
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As fraud allegations over last year’s constitutional referendum continue to simmer, Turkey’s government last week rushed through parliament far-reaching changes to electoral rules, fueling fears over the integrity of upcoming polls and sparking opposition calls for an election boycott.

In the April 16, 2017, referendum, which narrowly approved amendments concentrating power in the hands of the president, the Supreme Election Board (YSK) made a last-minute decision to accept ballots that did not bear the stamp of election officials, openly flouting the law and casting a lasting shadow on the outcome. Many believe the validation of unstamped votes tipped the result in favor of the “yes” camp, which won by 51.4%. Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), said in February that the actual result was 51.2% in favor of the “no” camp.

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