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The Turkish opposition’s dilemma on the referendum result

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The Turkish referendum on the presidency is over but both the legal and the political debates are continuing, despite the Supreme Election Board’s (YSK) rejection of the appeals by the opposition parties over the claims of fraud in the vote count.

The naysayers have protested the YSK ruling, claiming it was taken under government pressure – similar to its announcement on the night of the referendum on April 16 that the unsealed ballots would be accepted as valid. The social democratic Republican People’s Party (CHP) and Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), which focuses on the Kurdish issue, formally appealed to the YSK for the annulment of the referendum on that reason.

The only legal way left for the naysayers is to appeal to the Constitutional Court on an individual basis, not as a party. If that will be the case, if there will be appeal requests by individual citizens, will the top court annul the referendum, even if the fraud charges are proven somehow? That is a delicate question, especially if the current political atmosphere in Turkey is considered.

The system change has been desired by President Tayyip Erdoğan for at least the last 10 years. With the backing of Devlet Bahçeli, the leader of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), Erdoğan and Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım was able to push it through parliament to the referendum. That has cost Bahçeli dear. A recent survey by IPSOS/CNN Türk showed that more than 70 percent of his party did not vote “yes” in the referendum. But the “yes” front managed to get 51.4 percent of the votes, but that was overshadowed by the YSK announcement about the unsealed ballots, which was likened to moving the goalposts after the game was over.

The amendments involve the Constitutional Court a lot; a majority of its members will be appointed by the president. The court ruling will probably be questioned as being a political........

© Hürriyet Daily News