Turkey votes on constitution

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Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Turkey’s Supreme Election Council confirmed on Saturday that the country will hold a referendum on constitutional reforms on April 16, according to the agency report.

Voters will decide on a set of reforms that could vastly empower the office of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The previous day, Erdogan ratified the constitutional reform bill, which was passed by the parliament last month.

Critics say the amendments will weaken checks and balances and the role of parliament and leave too much power concentrated in the office of the president, while damaging the independence of the judiciary.

The government says it will bring stability.

The country has been under a strict state of emergency since a failed coup attempt by a faction of the military in July.

Opposition supporters say the state of emergency could hurt their efforts to rally against the reform package.

The government is carrying out purges of the civil service, security forces and academia and has also made mass arrests, since the failed coup. (NAN)

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