Watch Live: Erdogan Declares Victory In Turkey's Constitutional Referendum

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With over 97% of ballots counted, Turkey's president Erdogan and soon, quasi dictator, declared victory in the Turkish referendum and called the leaders of three political parties supporting changes to the constitution to congratulate them on the victory, Anadolu news agency reported, and added rather comically that "many world leaders send congratulatory messages to President Erdogan." One wonders who exactly...

Absent some last minute fireworks, Turkey is now set to shift to a presidential system as the outcome of the referendum puts “Yes” votes at 51.3%, according to unofficial sources.

“Yes” votes were ahead at 51.3% or 24.598.880 votes, while “No” votes fell behind at 48.6% or 23,326,636 votes. “Yes” votes prevailed in four of Turkey’s seven regions, including southeastern Anatolia.

The reforms were approved by 339 deputies on January 21st, and Erdo?an signed the amendments on February 10th. Under the proposed changes, the post of prime minister is abolished and the president, vice president(s) and cabinet officials can be investigated by the parliament. The current system has no mechanism that monitors presidential conduct.

The new constitution proposes a streamlined legislative process. The post of prime minister will be abolished and the president will be able to issue laws by decree concerning specific areas of executive power. The parliament will be able to declare a decree void, and presidential decrees will be monitored by Parliament and the Constitutional Court.

The president will appoint four members to the Supreme Council of Judges and Prosecutors, Turkey’s highest legal body responsible for the judicial system, which is the same number as the president appoints now, and the Parliament will appoint the remaining members. The number of members will be reduced from 17 to 15.

The new constitution would also abolish military commissions and courts, which were the remnants of an outdated constitution written by coup plotting generals. This is perhaps one of the most significant of the proposed changes, because for the first time in Turkey’s history the judiciary would be completely under civilian control. The Cabinet will also be abolished but ministers will remain.

The president will also be able to appoint presidential aides and ministers and also unseat them.

The age of candidacy for required for the Parliament would be lowered from 25 to 18, and the total number of parliamentarians will increase from 550 to 600, in order to better represent the growing population.

Meanwhile, AP reports that Turkey's main opposition party says it will challenge 37% of the votes counted in the referendum. Erdal Aksunger, deputy head of main opposition party CHP, tells reporters at televised press conference that there are about 2.5 million ‘problematic’ votes in the referendum.  Aksunger has called on supporters not to leave ballot boxes until the count is over; “The election isn’t over. We are going to get what is our right.” Bloomberg adds that the High Election Board YSK counted around 1.5 million votes that should have been considered invalid

Separately, pro-Kurdish HDP party, former members of nationalist MHP party also contesting results with election board.

That said, one doubts the protests would have any impact on the final outcome which was largely expected.

A press conference is scheduled for 6pm GMT, 2pm ET, when the Turkish prime minister is expected to make statement on the referendum.