Referendum grants Turkish President Erdogan sweeping new powers

Referendum grants Turkish President Erdogan sweeping new powers

Ankara (Web Desk): Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said on Monday that the people's message was clear after a referendum which will hand President Tayyip Erdogan sweeping new powers, and said the vote had ended all arguments.

Erdogan has narrowly won a referendum to expand presidential powers, which could keep him in office until 2029.

Election authorities said preliminary results showed 51.4 percent of voters had backed the biggest overhaul of Turkish politics since the founding of the modern republic in Sunday's referendum. European monitors said the vote did not live up to international standards.

“God willing, these results will be the beginning of a new era in our country,” Erdogan said at a news conference Sunday night.

In Ankara, thousands of revelers honked their horns and waved Turkish flags along with white flags reading, “Evet” – Turkish for yes – at the headquarters of the political party founded by Erdogan.

Erdogan cast his vote with his wife, Emine Erdogan, and other family members at a school near his home in Istanbul.

“This April 16 referendum is not an ordinary voting [process],” Erdogan told reporters after casting his ballot.

“We have had many parliamentary elections in our history as a republic. In the meantime, we have also had referendums. However, this referendum is a decision on a new administrative system, a change and a transformation in the Republic of Turkey. I hope our people will make a decision to pave the way for a quick development. … We need to grow quicker and walk faster.”