Home Tags Posts tagged with "constitutional referendum"

constitutional referendum


Turkish voters are going to polls in a landmark referendum that will determine whether President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will be granted sweeping new powers.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan is seeking to replace Turkey’s parliamentary system with an executive presidency.

His supporters say the move would streamline and modernize Turkey, but opponents fear it could lead to greater authoritarianism.

A “yes” vote could also see Recep Tayyip Erdogan remain in office until 2029.

On April 15, Turkish politicians made their final appeals to voters preparing to cast their ballots on one of the most sweeping programs of constitutional change since Turkey became a republic almost a century ago.

Some 55 million people are eligible to vote across 167,000 polling stations, with the results expected to be announced late in the evening.

If the referendum vote falls in Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s favor, it would give him vastly enhanced powers to appoint cabinet ministers, issue decrees, choose senior judges and dissolve parliament.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the changes were needed to address the security challenges faced by Turkey, and to avoid the fragile coalition governments of the past.

Image source Wikipedia

Speaking at one of his final rallies in Istanbul’s Tuzla district, Recep Tayyip Erdogan told supporters that the new constitution would “bring stability and trust that is needed for our country to develop and grow”.

“Turkey can leap into the future,” he said.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan assumed the presidency, a largely ceremonial position, in 2014 after more than a decade as prime minister.

The referendum on constitutional change would abolish the post of prime minister altogether, allowing the president to bring all state bureaucracy under his control.

The president says the new system will resemble those in France and the US and will bring calm in a time of turmoil marked by a Kurdish insurgency, Islamist militancy and conflict in neighboring Syria that has led to a huge refugee influx.

The campaign, which has polarized Turkey, takes place under a state of emergency which was imposed following a failed coup last July. A government crackdown since then has seen tens of thousands of people arrested.

Opponents and critics of the proposed changes fear the move would make the president’s position too powerful, arguing that it would amount to one-man rule, without the checks and balances of other presidential systems.

They say his ability to retain ties to a political party – Recep Tayyip Erdogan could resume leadership of the AK Party (AKP) he co-founded – would end any chance of impartiality.

Kemal Kilicdaroglu, leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), told a rally in Ankara that a “yes” vote would endanger the country.

“We will put 80 million people on to a bus… we don’t know where it is headed. We are putting 80 million on a bus with no brakes,” he said.

The referendum has a simple “yes” or “no” choice on whether to endorse parliament’s approval of a new draft constitution.

The draft states that the next presidential and parliamentary elections will be held on November 3, 2019, and the president would have a five-year tenure, for a maximum of two terms.

Italy voted in a constitutional referendum which is being closely watched for further signs of anti-establishment sentiment in Europe.

The vote, called by center-left PM Matteo Renzi, is formally on plans to streamline parliament but is expected to be used as a chance to register discontent.

Populist parties support a No vote.

The turnout on December 4 referendum has been very high by Italian standards – about 60% on average.

Nearly two-thirds of the electorate has voted in prosperous northern Italy but the turnout was much lower in the south.

Voting began at 07:00 and ended at 23:00 local time.

Matteo Renzi is the youngest prime minister in Italy's history, and one of its least experienced

PM Matteo Renzi, who has said he will resign if he loses, is set to address the Italian people at midnight.

In brief, the reforms include reducing the power of the Senate. Its members would be cut from 315 to 100, with most drawn from mayors and regional representatives.

Matteo Renzi, 41, says the reforms would speed up the cumbersome law-making process in Italy, which has had 60 governments since 1948.

Opponents say the proposals would concentrate too much power in the prime minister’s hands.

Some 50 million Italians have the right to vote in the referendum – many voters are fed up with years of economic stagnation.

An opinion poll in November gave the No vote a lead of at least five percentage points. But many Italians are thought to be still undecided.

The No campaign in Italy has been spearheaded by the anti-establishment Five Star Movement, led by Beppe Grillo. It wants a referendum on whether Italy should keep the euro.

Populists, including the Five Star Movement and the anti-immigrant Northern League, would receive a boost from the prime minister’s defeat.

If Italy votes No, it would follow a similar trend seen with the UK’s vote in June to leave the EU, as well as the rise of the anti-immigrant Front National in France and populist parties elsewhere (along with Donald Trump’s unexpected win in the US presidential election).

The possibility of Matteo Renzi falling from power has reignited concerns about financial stability in the eurozone’s third largest economy.

If Matteo Renzi does lose, it is still not entirely certain that he will be out of power.

President Sergio Mattarella could ask Matteo Renzi to form a new government or appoint a technocratic prime minister to serve until elections due in 2018.

Egypt begins voting in a second stage of a constitutional referendum that has sparked weeks of unrest in the country’s main cities.

Opponents of President Mohamed Morsi have held protests against the draft, saying it favors the Islamists now in power and betrays the revolution that overthrew Hosni Mubarak last year.

Mohamed Morsi’s supporters say the constitution will secure democracy.

Some 250,000 security personnel have been deployed nationwide to try to keep order during the referendum.

Tension over the document has helped to fuel weeks of violence, including clashes in Alexandria on Friday.

Turnout was reported to be just above 30% in the first round, with unofficial counts suggesting some 56% of those who cast ballots voted in favor of the draft.

Official results are not expected until Monday, after appeals are heard. If the constitution passes, parliamentary elections must take place within three months.

Ballots are being cast in the 17 provinces which did not vote in a first round on December 15.

The areas are seen as more conservative and sympathetic to Mohamed Morsi’s Islamist movement, the Muslim Brotherhood.

Analysts suggest this will favor a “Yes” vote.

“I’m voting <<No>> because Egypt can’t be ruled by one faction,” Karim Nahas, a 35-year-old stock market broker voting early on Saturday in Giza, told Reuters news agency.

Egyptians casting votes in favor of the charter said they were voting for stability.

Opponents of the draft say it fails to protect the freedoms and human rights that they sought in the uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak.

Human Rights Watch says the draft provides for basic protections against arbitrary detention and torture, but fails to end military trials of civilians or to protect freedom of expression and religion.

Ahead of the second round, opposition politicians said they thought further violence was likely.

“I see more unrest,” said Ahmed Said, head of the liberal Free Egyptians Party and a member of the opposition coalition.

He said there had been “serious violations” on the first day of voting and that anger towards the president was growing.

Opposition figurehead Mohammed ElBaradei has urged people to vote against the charter.

“We know that if this constitution is passed, there will be no stability,” he said late on Thursday.

Egypt’s latest crisis began on November 22, when Mohamed Morsi issued a decree granting himself broad powers.

The decree stripped the judiciary of any power to challenge his decisions.

After an outcry, the president revoked much of the decree, but he refused to back down on the draft constitution.

The text was rushed through by a constituent assembly dominated by Islamists and boycotted by liberal and left-wing members, as it faced a threat of dissolution by the country’s top court.

Egypt has seen mass demonstrations on both sides ever since.

On Friday, Islamists clashed with secular rivals in Alexandria, hurling stones at each other outside a mosque.

Police formed lines and fired tear gas to keep the two groups apart.

The state news agency Mena quoted the health ministry as saying that 32 people had been injured.

[youtube Dw44a1AyRFA]

Fresh clashes have broken out in the Egyptian city of Alexandria on the eve of the second leg of voting in the country’s constitutional referendum.

Police fired tear gas as thousands of Islamists were met by a smaller group of protesters near a large mosque.

The Islamists back President Mohamed Morsi and his draft constitution. Opponents say the document has been rushed and does not protect minorities.

Alexandria voted in the first leg of a referendum that has split the nation.

The capital, Cairo, has also voted. Seventeen of the 27 provinces will cast ballots on Saturday.

Islamists in favor of the draft had called for a large rally outside the Qaed Ibrahim mosque in the centre of Alexandria.

They chanted “God is Great” and “With blood and soul, we redeem Islam”.

A smaller group of opponents chanted anti-constitution slogans and the two sides threw stones at each other.

Police formed lines to keep the groups apart and fired tear gas, with the unrest subsiding after about 90 minutes.

The state news agency Mena quoted the health ministry as saying that 32 people had been injured.

Last week an ultraconservative cleric was trapped in a mosque in Alexandria for 12 hours as his supporters battled opponents outside.

Some 250,000 security personnel have been deployed nationwide to try to keep order during the referendum.

Turnout for the first round of voting was reported to be low – just above 30%. Unofficial counts suggested some 56% of those who cast ballots voted “yes” to the draft.

The opposition has complained of a number of cases of fraud.

Analysts believe Saturday’s leg will favor a “yes” vote as the areas to vote are considered in general to be more conservative.

Egypt’s latest crisis began on November 22, when Mohamed Morsi adopted sweeping new powers in a decree, stripping the judiciary of any power to challenge his decisions.

The decree spurred protests and clashes between Mohamed Morsi’s supporters and opponents.

Under pressure, the president revoked much of the decree but only after a constituent assembly had voted through the draft constitution and it had been put to the referendum.

The opposition had demanded the referendum be postponed, saying the assembly had approved the draft despite a boycott by liberals, secularists and Christians, who believe it does not adequately protect women, freedom of expression or religion.

The opposition did not, however, call a boycott, instead urging its members to vote “no”.

If the constitution passes, elections must take place within three months. In the meantime, legislative powers would remain with Mohamed Morsi.

[youtube wdDsHeajOd4]