Election board head says unsealed ballot papers valid

Official results due to be announced in 11-12 days, according to Sadi Guven

Election board head says unsealed ballot papers valid

By Ahmet Sait Akcay


The head of the country’s electoral board sought to clarify any uncertainty about the vote count Sunday when he said unsealed paper ballots are considered valid in the referendum results.

Sadi Guven told media at the board’s headquarters in Ankara that the position on the paper ballots was a “unanimous decision made before voting results transferred to the system”.

“Before counting, ballots, envelopes and number of voters are crosschecked,” Guven said.

He said unsealed vote envelopes were also used in past elections.

As of 11.30 p.m. local time (2030GMT), unofficial results showed Yes won with 51.37 percent -- 24,966,843 votes -- while No had 48.63 percent, or 23,636,067 votes.

Turnout across the country was 85.46 percent. 

The country voted “Yes” to constitutional changes during the referendum, according to the electoral board.

Opposition CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu said the results are questionable because of the decision by the electoral board after unofficial results were released. “We respect the nation's will but the decision on unsealed ballots overshadowed it,” he said.

“Final referendum results will be released within 11-12 days,” Guven added. 

Sunday’s referendum asked voters to choose Yes or No on an 18-article bill that would see the country switch from a parliamentary to a presidential system, among other changes.

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