16 December 2018

Voting begins in US on Turkey's referendum

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Voting began Saturday in the U.S. on Turkey’s referendum on constitutional reforms as hundreds of Turkish nationals showed up to cast their ballots here and in the capital, Washington D.C. reports that “Through this democratic exercise, they are sharing their expectations regarding the developments in Turkey and their preference regarding the future of the country,” Ambassador Serdar Kilic told Anadolu Agency.

“I hope it will bring the best for the Turkish people and nation,” he said.

All measures have been taken to ensure that voting goes smoothly, he added.

There are more than 96,000 voters in the U.S., with more than one third residing in the state of New York. Turnout at the last elections hovered around 30 percent.

It is expected to rise this year, Consul General Ertan Yalcin said, adding that at least 300 people voted at the Consulate General in New York City within the first three hours of voting.

Voting will continue through April 9 between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. at seven Turkish missions across the country. The votes will then be transferred to Turkey via Turkish Airlines on April 10.

The referendum, which will take place on April 16 in Turkey, addresses a host of constitutional reforms, including a switch to a presidential system of governance.

The reforms would hand wide-ranging executive powers to the president, while the post of prime minister would be abolished. The president would also be allowed to retain ties to a political party.

Other changes would see the minimum age of parliamentary candidates reduced to 18 and the number of deputies rising to 600.

2017.04.02 / 09:32
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