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OSCE observers say Turkey’s referendum fails to live up to Council of Europe standards

April 17, 2017, 16:52 UTC+3 VIENNA

Voters were not provided with impartial information about key aspects of the reform, the OSCE says

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© AP Photo/Emrah Gurel

VIENNA, April 17. /TASS/. The referendum on constitutional amendments in Turkey on Sunday was not in compliance with the standards of the Council of Europe, international observers from OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) said in a statement.

The referendum took place on "an unlevel playing field and the two sides of the campaign did not have equal opportunities," the statement said. "Voters were not provided with impartial information about key aspects of the reform, and civil society organizations were not able to participate."

"In general, the referendum did not live up to Council of Europe standards. The legal framework was inadequate for the holding of a genuinely democratic process," said Cezar Florin Preda, head of the delegation from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

The observers admitted that the technical aspects of the referendum were "well administered" and referendum day proceeded in "an orderly manner." However, changes in counting procedures "removed an important safeguard and were contested by the opposition," they said.

According to the preliminary data, as many as 51.3% of voters (or 1.3 million) supported the constitutional amendments replacing the country’s parliamentary system with an executive presidency and eliminating the position of prime minister. The amendments will also allow the president to appoint vice president, ministers and some members of the Board of Judges and prosecutors.

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