Turkey confirms constitutional referendum on April 16

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Turkey’s election board officially confirmed Saturday that a referendum on constitutional changes that would expand President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s powers will take place on April 16.

High Election Board head Sadi Guven said in a televised speech that the date was fixed after the law was published on the Official Gazette.

Erdogan signed the law on Friday, clearing the way for public vote.

Guven said two colors – white and brown – would be used in ballot papers representing “yes” and “no” respectively.

The 18-article new constitution would create an executive presidency for the first time in modern Turkey.

The proposal would enable the president to issue decrees, declare emergency rule, appoint ministers and top state officials and dissolve parliament, and could see President Erdogan remain in power until 2029.

If voted for by the majority of Turkish people, the proposal will mean that the post of prime minister will be abolished.

The government says the far-reaching changes are needed for more effective leadership, but opponents fear they will drag Turkey into one-man rule.

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