World, Europe

Turks in UK set for referendum vote in early April

Polling stations set up in London, Edinburgh for Turkey's April 16 constitutional referendum, as well as 56 other countries

Turks in UK set for referendum vote in early April

London, City of

By Ahmet Gurhan Kartal


Turks living in the U.K. will go to polls early next month for Turkey’s April 16 referendum on constitutional changes.

Turkish citizens will be able to cast their votes in London and the Scottish capital Edinburgh for four days on April 6-9, Turkey’s consul in London told Anadolu Agency.

Addressing changes this year, Cinar Ergin said citizens can now vote at different stations, not just the one they are registered with.

Ergin explained that a registered voter could cast his/her ballot at any polling station in any foreign country.

“The entire area abroad has been turned into a single election region. So in order to cast a vote somewhere, there is no need to be living in the consulate’s activity zone. Our citizens registered abroad can cast votes at any polling station abroad,” he told Anadolu Agency.

“They can vote in the U.K., Australia, Germany, the U.S., France, or wherever they want to do it. They just need to be registered as a voter abroad.”

Ergin also said the votes cast abroad will be counted in Turkey.

Voters in the U.K. can cast their votes between 9 am and 9 pm at Novotel Congress Center in London and at the Turkish Consulate in Edinburgh.  

Three countries added

In addition, Turkish citizens abroad will be able to vote in three more countries for the April 16 referendum than in previous elections, according to electoral sources.

Sources at the Supreme Board of Elections, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media, previously said that Luxembourg, Singapore, and Iraq have been added to the countries where ballots will be available, all of them additions since the last general elections held in November 2015.

On Nov. 1, 2015, Turkish citizens voted in 113 Turkish missions in 54 countries. On April 16, ballots will be available at 120 missions in 57 countries.

In Turkish missions in Germany, Austria, Belgium, France, Denmark, and Switzerland, the voting process will start on March 27 and last through April 9.

In other Turkish missions, the voting will start later but the last day will be the same.

Citizens in Japan, China, and South Africa will be able to vote at Turkish missions there for one day only: April 9.

At customs gates, voting will start on March 27 and will last through the day of domestic balloting, April 16.

The constitutional changes have been discussed since Recep Tayyip Erdogan won his current position in August 2014 -- Turkey’s first popularly elected president.

The reforms would hand wide-ranging executive powers to the president, and the post of prime minister would be abolished. The president would also be allowed to retain ties to a political party.

Other changes would see the minimum age for parliamentary candidates lowered to 18 and the number of deputies rise to 600. Under the new constitution, simultaneous parliamentary and presidential elections for a five-year term would be held in November 2019.

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