Justice minister says high courts have no option but to reject CHP’s appeal on referendum

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MOSCOW, RUSSIA - MARCH 10: Turkey's Minister of Justice Bekir Bozdag attends the High-Level Cooperation Council meeting between Turkey and Russia, in Moscow, Russia on March 10, 2017.AFP

Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ said on Saturday that the Constitutional Court and the Council of State have no option but to reject an appeal by the main opposition Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) to annul a decision by the Supreme Election Board (YSK) that changed legal criteria concerning the validity of unsealed ballots in an April 16 referendum.

In series of tweets on Saturday, Bozdağ said the YSK’s decision on the referendum is final and cannot be questioned by the courts.

“The duty of examining all corruption, objections and complaints regarding election issues and making a final decision about them belongs to the Supreme Election Board. No appeals can be made against the YSK decision to any court or authority, including the Council of State and the Constitutional Court,” he said.

He also added that the courts have no choice but to reject them if an appeal is made.

Bozdağ also said that the CHP must accept the people’s decision and respect it, even if the outcome is not what they wanted.

The CHP was unable to internalize democracy and couldn’t accept the people’s will,” he said.

Meanwhile, CHP Deputy Chairman Levent Gök slammed Bozdağ’s remarks, saying, “The justice minister committed a constitutional crime.”

“The justice minister is giving orders to judges. There is a threat behind saying that ‘the CHP can’t appeal.’ There is an understanding of ‘Look, don’t make mistakes,’” Gök told journalists at a press briefing on Saturday.

On Friday, the CHP announced that it would file a case at the Council of State demanding cancellation of the results of a referendum held on April 16 because unstamped ballots were cast during the voting.

A constitutional reform package introducing an executive presidency in Turkey was approved by 51.4 percent of the electorate in Sunday’s referendum.

During the voting, some citizens cast their votes in unstamped ballots, while others used envelopes and ballots they brought with them, which prompted some opposition parties and naysayers to raise suspicions about the validity of the votes.

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