The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) will apply to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) regarding the supreme election board’s decision to accept unstamped ballot papers during the April 16 constitutional referendum, CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said on July 4.
“I should sadly express that the referendum has become illegitimate due to the decision by the Supreme Election Board, which largely lost its legitimacy. Now, we have prepared our petition. We are applying to the European Court of Human Rights. I am putting my first signature here now. The petitions will be sent today,” Kılıçdaroğlu said speaking on the 20th day of his justice march in the northwestern province of Kocaeli.
Ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) spokesperson Mahir Ünal said on July 4 that the supreme electoral board’s decision was “final and clear,” and accused the main opposition of trying to create a “legitimacy crisis.”
“They want to be a part of a politics that feeds on problems, by creating discussions and crises over different problem areas,” Ünal said on July 4 in a press conference.
“The CHP’s search for justice is not a search for justice. Their appeal to the Constitutional Court was not an appeal to the Constitutional Court. Similarly, their appeal to the ECHR is not an appeal to the ECHR,” he added.
Ünal said the government expects the ECHR to decide in accordance with the decision of Constitutional Court, which dismissed the appeal and said the YSK’s decisions are outside of its jurisdiction.
The Supreme Election Board (YSK) decision to accept unstamped ballot papers “unless it can be proved that they were brought from outside the voting room” sparked a major debate on the results of the referendum, in which the “yes” campaign emerged as the winner with 51.4 percent of the votes.
The party had previously applied to the YSK to annul the results, but it was rejected. It then applied to the Council of State in order to repeal the YSK decision to change the legal criteria of the validity of unsealed ballots on April 16, which was also turned down.