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10:21 21 July
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OSCE: Turkey referendum contested ‘on an unlevel playing field’


International election observers from the OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe) reported on Monday that Turkey's constitutional referendum was contested on "an unlevel playing field."

 

While the technical aspects of the process were well administered, voters were not provided with impartial information about key aspects of the reform, and limitations on fundamental freedoms had a negative effect, the joint mission of the OSCE's Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) said in a statement, APA reported.

 

“On referendum day there were no major problems, except in some regions, however we can only regret the absence of civil society observers in polling stations,” said Cezar Florin Preda, Head of the delegation from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. “In general, the referendum did not live up to Council of Europe standards. The legal framework was inadequate for the holding of a genuinely democratic process.”

 

“The referendum took place in a political environment in which fundamental freedoms essential to a genuinely democratic process were curtailed under the state of emergency, and the two sides did not have equal opportunities to make their case to the voters,” said Tana de Zulueta, Head of the ODIHR limited election observation mission.  “Our monitoring showed the ‘Yes’ campaign dominated the media coverage and this, along with restrictions on the media, the arrests of journalists and the closure of media outlets, reduced voters’ access to a plurality of views.” 

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