Erdogan Claims Vast New Powers After Narrow Victory in Turkish Referendum
ISTANBUL — A slim majority of Turkish voters agreed on Sunday to grant sweeping powers to their president, in a watershed moment that the country’s opposition fears may cement a system of authoritarian rule within one of the critical power brokers of the Middle East.
With nearly 99 percent of votes in a referendum counted on Sunday night, supporters of the proposal had 51.3 percent of votes cast, and opponents had 48.7 percent, the country’s electoral commission announced.
The result will take days to confirm, and the main opposition party said it would demand a recount of about 37 percent of ballot boxes, containing around 2.5 million votes.
But on Sunday night the result was already a political reality, as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan hailed his victory in front of a crowd of supporters in Istanbul. “We are enacting the most important governmental reform of our history,” he said.
但是，当土耳其总统雷杰普·塔伊普·埃尔多安(Recep Tayyip Erdogan)在伊斯坦布尔面对一群支持者为自己的胜利欢呼时，周日晚上的计票结果已经变成了一种政治现实。“我们在实施本国历史上最重要的政府改革，”他说。
The constitutional change will allow the winner of the 2019 presidential election to assume full control of the government, ending the current parliamentary political system.
The ramifications, however, are immediate. The “yes” vote in the referendum is a validation of the current leadership style of Erdogan, who has been acting as a de facto head of government since his election in 2014 despite having no constitutional right to wield such power. The office of Turkey’s president was meant to be an impartial role without full executive authority.
The result tightens Erdogan’s grip on the country, which is one of the leading external actors in the Syrian civil war, a major way station along the migration routes to Europe and a crucial Middle Eastern partner of the United States and Russia.
The opposition questioned the legitimacy of the referendum after the election board made a last-minute decision to increase the burden needed to prove accusations of ballot-box stuffing. At least three instances of alleged voter fraud appeared to be captured on camera.
“We are receiving thousands of complaints on election fraud,” said Erdal Aksunger, deputy head of the main opposition party, the Republican People’s Party, known as the CHP. “We are evaluating them one by one.”
“我们收到了数千个有关选举造假的投诉，”主要的反对党共和人民党（Republican People’s Party，简称DHP）的副主席埃达尔·阿克松格(Erdal Aksunger)说。“我们在一个个地对它们进行评估。”