Turkey votes Sunday on sweeping new presidential powers

Some 55 million eligible voters with a simple yes or no can Sunday change the Turkish constitution and accept the changes drafted by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Those changes would replace Turkey’s parliamentary system with an executive presidency and abolish the post of prime minister. A yes could see him in power for two five-year-terms until 2029. Erdogan promises the constitutional changes will bring stability, solve stalled problems and enable Turkey to “leap into the future.” Critics fear it would put too much power in the president's hands, without the checks and balances of other presidential systems.

The referendum takes place under a state of emergency imposed after the failed July 2016 coup against him. Tens of thousands of people have been summarily arrested. Opinion polls suggest that it will be a tight race between the Yes and No campaigns, despite the advantages enjoyed by Erdogan and his powerful Justice and Development (AKP) party. Results are expected late on Sunday evening.

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