Turkey's election board rejects appeals to annul referendum

Turkey's opposition on Tuesday demanded the annulment of a contentious referendum that approved sweeping constitutional changes boosting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's powers, claiming blatant vote-rigging had swung the result.

The prime minister then called on the main opposition party to be accountable for their actions. In particular, observers pointed to a controversial last-minute decision by Turkey's electoral board to accept ballots that did not have official stamps, saying the move undermined safeguards against voter fraud.

Supporters of the "no" vote, one, holding a banner of modern Turkey's founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, centre, chant slogans during a protest against the referendum outcome, in Istanbul, Tuesday, April 18, 2017. "The opposition should not call people to take to the streets and say they do not recognize election results".

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday said he would meet new USA leader Donald Trump for the first time as head of state in mid-May in the United States.

"The main opposition party not recognising the results is not an acceptable thing", Mr Yildirim said.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) said a "lack of equal opportunities, one-sided media coverage, and limitations on fundamental freedoms" had created an "unlevel playing field" in Turkey's vote.

The "Yes" camp won 51.41 per cent in Sunday's referendum, according to complete results released by the election authorities. "We must put an end to this", said Erodgan.

Those protests were sparked by plans to uproot trees in Istanbul's Gezi Park to build a shopping mall.

The new system outlined under the constitutional changes will take full effect at the next election, slated for November 2019.

"We call on the Turkish authorities to consider the next steps very carefully, and to seek the broadest possible national consensus in the follow-up to the national referendum", European Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas said at a press conference in Brussels.

Unlike European leaders who expressed reservations about the referendum, US President Donald Trump telephoned Erdogan to congratulate him.

"Erdogan, whose narrow victory laid bare the nation's divisions, told flag-waving supporters that foreign election observers should "know their place" and Turkey did not "see, hear or acknowledge" criticism that the vote did not live up to global standards", reported Reuters.

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