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Turkish court declines to hear referendum appeal – Anadolu

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan poses with children during a ceremony to mark the National Sovereignty and Children's Day at the Presidential Palace in Ankara, Turkey, April 23, 2017

A Turkish court declined to hear an appeal by the main opposition party challenging the acceptance of unstamped ballots in the referendum to expand President Tayyip Erdogan’s powers, state-run Anadolu news agency said on Tuesday.

The council of state, Turkey’s high judicial body handling complaints and appeals against state and public institutions, said it had no jurisdiction in the case, Anadolu reported. The decision was taken on a majority of votes, it said.

The council of state was not immediately available for comment.

The opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), which appealed to the court last week, had also demanded the official results of the hotly contested referendum be postponed until the case is resolved.

The results are due to be announced 11 to 12 days after the April 16 referendum, the High Electoral Board (YSK) has said. Preliminary results put the ‘Yes’ vote at 51.4 per cent.

Held under a state of emergency in place since a failed coup last July, the referendum was criticised by European election observers, who said the decision to allow unstamped ballot papers to be counted had removed a main safeguard against voting fraud.

Erdogan and government ministers have rejected criticism of the vote as politically motivated, and the YSK last week dismissed challenges by the CHP and two other opposition parties.

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