The people of Turkey have voted to grant President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sweeping new powers in a referendum, partial official results indicate.
With 95.73% of the ballots counted, early results put the "yes" vote ahead, according to the state-run Anadolu Agency. Results show 51.94% of Turks are in favor of giving Erdogan more power and 48.06% are against.
Broadcaster Haberturk said turnout was 86 percent.
However the opposition People's Republican Party (CHP) said a last-minute decision by the electoral board to accept unstamped ballots as valid votes put the vote in question.
The opposition refuses to accept the results, and is calling for the recount of 60% of the votes.
However, if the election results remained unchanged, which is the likely option, this means that a huge transformation will happen in Turkey, and the way it's governed.
So what does this referendum exactly means, and why is it so important?
What seems consistent across the board is that the amendments package that the referendum result will make in the Turkish constitution in 2019, has been prepared with current president Recep Tayyip Erdogan in mind.
Considering that both the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and Erdogan are likely to continue to win the popular vote, the changes would institutionalize a populist, one-man system that jeopardizes legislative and judicial independence and consolidates them in the office of the president.
Indeed, the dramatic changes proposed would set in motion the most drastic shake-up of the country’s politics and system of governance in its 94-year-long history.
Basicly, Turkey would never be the same again.
The role of prime minister would be scrapped. The new post of vice president, possibly two or three, would be created. The president would become the head of the executive, as well as the head of state, and retain ties to a political party.
He would be given sweeping new powers to appoint ministers, prepare the budget, choose the majority of senior judges and enact certain laws by decree. The president alone would be able to announce a state of emergency and dismiss parliament. Parliament would lose its right to scrutinise ministers or propose an enquiry.
Basicly Turkey’s new presidential system would allow Erdogan to be the head of state, the head of government, the head of the ruling party and appoint judges to the judiciary branch.
The model proposed by Turkey lacks the safety mechanisms of checks and balances present in other countries like the United States, observers say.
But most important, the constitutional changes would also reset the clock on Erdogan's term limits, giving Erdogan the possibility of continuing as president until 2029.