Erdogan to retain party ties post official poll result


President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will retain ties with his ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party after official referendum result gets announced, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said on Tuesday.

“After the announcement of official results, we will invite our Founding Chairman [Erdogan] to our party and we will be glad to see him among us,” Yildirim said during a weekly parliamentary group meeting in Ankara.

The official results are expected to be announced between April 27 and April 28.

The constitutional reforms that were voted in favor during Sunday’s referendum allows the president to maintain ties to a political party for the first time. This also means Erdogan could resume leadership of the AK Party.

In a speech last year, Erdogan said there was no doubt that when the president works in tandem with the party, it makes the party and the president strong, and more determined steps get to be made in solidarity.

“When a president breaks off ties with the party [that brought him to power], it weakens political effectiveness and the active [political] structure, he said.

Yildirim also rejected claims about disputed ballots in Sunday’s historic referendum in which the Yes campaign won with 51.41 percent, while the No votes stood at 48.59 percent, according to unofficial results.

“Each segment of society, especially the main opposition party, should respect the referendum results,” the premier said, adding: “It is wrong to overshadow the referendum by claiming the election result is questionable.”

After the referendum, the main opposition leader from the Republican People’s Party (CHP), Kemal Kilicdaroglu, slammed the Supreme Election Board’s decision to count unsealed ballots in the referendum.

Kilicdaroglu said he respected the nation’s will but the decision on unsealed ballots had overshadowed the results.

“The rule of a match cannot be changed while the match is being played, this is a universal rule,” he said.

He claimed the electoral board had illegitimately changed the rules at the end of the voting process.

“This referendum revealed a truth — at least 50 percent of the society says ‘No’,” Kilicdaroglu said.

“Therefore, this constitutional amendment and the whole constitution it has formed have largely lost its significance as a document of social reconciliation,” he added.

Following Kilicdaroglu’s remarks, head of the electoral board, Said Guven, said the unsealed ballots were valid that came after a unanimous decision was made before voting results were transferred to the counting system.

Yildirim said the government would continue to strengthen democracy and protect universal values in the country.

“Protecting and defending the legal rights of our citizens without exception will continue to be the essence of our politics,” he said, adding: “We will continue to serve our citizens under a transparent management approach.”

Source: Anadolu Agency