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Turkey opposition calls for referendum to be annulled


Opponents, however, have already voiced fears that the president already holds too much power, and the "yes" vote puts Turkey at risk of becoming an authoritarian state.

"We look to the government of Turkey to protect the fundamental rights and freedoms of all its citizens", acting spokesperson Mark Toner said, pointing to the widespread election irregularities observed by monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. "The people's will has been reflected at the ballot box, and the debate is over", he said.

Opposition parties called for the vote to be annulled because of a series of irregularities, particularly an electoral board decision to accept ballots that didn't bear official stamps, as required by Turkish law.

In their petitions Tuesday, the residents of Ankara said the decision and other reported irregularities were in open violation of the law.

"Late changes in counting procedures removed an important safeguard", said Cezar Florin Preda, head of the PACE delegation.

On Tuesday, the People's Republican Party (CHP), Turkey's main secularist opposition party, said it would officially file for the annulment of the referendum results with the country's High Electoral Board (YSK).

The new system takes effect at the next election, now slated for November 2019.

Turkey's new political system is due to come into effect after elections in November 2019, although Erdogan is expected to rapidly rejoin the ruling Justice Development Party (AKP) he founded but had to leave when he became president. This would allow Erdogan to rejoin the governing AK Party he co-founded, or to lead it.

"We will invite our founding chairman to our party and we will feel a huge elation to see him among us", he said.

The emergency laws first went into effect in July of previous year after a failed coup, which Erdogan blames on the followers of US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen. The delegation was paying a courtesy visit to the YSK and delivered a copy of its interim report on the referendum, OSCE delegation chair Tana de Zulueta said after the meeting.

At a briefing Monday, press secretary Sean Spicer was asked what Trump would like to see the Turkish president do, to which he responded, "I think we'd rather not get ahead of that report and start to make decisions without knowing".

Speaking to a rally of supporters in Ankara on Monday he said that some European countries had opposed him winning the referendum more than members of the Turkish opposition.

Trump joins a short list of leaders who have openly congratulated Erdogan, including Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Saudi King Salman.

The White House said the two leaders "agreed on the importance of holding Syrian President Bashar al-Assad accountable" and the campaign against Islamic State, including "the need to cooperate against all groups that use terrorism to achieve their ends".