ECtHR rejects main opposition CHP application to cancel April 16 referendum results

DAILY SABAH WITH AA
ISTANBUL
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European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) rejected Thursday main opposition Republican People's Party's (CHP) application for annulment of Turkey's April 16 referendum results.

Turkish voters endorsed an executive presidency in the April 16 referendum with 51.4 percent of the votes. The CHP, which had campaigned for a No vote, criticized the conduct of the referendum and applied for its annulment.

The court ruled that a protocol to the European Convention on Human Rights requiring regular free parliamentary elections did not apply to referendums.

The ECtHR said in the statement that CHP's demand to consider the referendum under within the meaning of Article 3 of Protocol No. 1, which refers to the Contracting Parties' obligation to hold free "elections at reasonable intervals."

"Firstly, referendums, unlike elections, are not held "at reasonable intervals" owing to the fact that in most, if not all, cases they represent a system of ascertaining the opinion of the people on a matter that is not a recurrent subject, such as the Constitutional Referendum in the present case, which is limited to a particular time and a particular subject."

The Court decision said the referendums are not organized to elect people to certain posts or does not give the electorate the possibility to choose the legislature.

"In the present case, although the Constitutional Referendum introduced many significant changes to the Constitution, the people of Turkey were clearly not choosing any particular person or persons for a legislative post or posts."

Legal experts predicted the outcome of the CHP application long before the ECtHR announced its decision.

The court said the decision made by the majority vote was final.

The reforms passed in April will extend the Turkish president's executive powers, and the president will also be allowed to retain ties to a political party.

The other major changes include lowering the age to become a lawmaker to 18 from 25, increasing the number of seats in Parliament from 550 to 600, closing down military courts, and same-day parliamentary and presidential elections every five years.

Simultaneous parliamentary and presidential elections for a five-year term will be held in November 2019 under the new Constitution.

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