[UPDATE] Unofficial results of Turkish referendum: Yes: 51.3; No: 48.7

An electoral staff member shows a ballot during the counting process after polls closed in Turkey's tightly-contested referendum on expanding the powers of the president on April 16, 2017 in Diyarbakir, seen as a crossroads in the modern history of the country. Turkey was voting to decide whether to expand the president's powers in a bitterly-contested referendum set to determine the future course of the key NATO member and EU hopeful. / AFP PHOTO / ILYAS AKENGIN

The “yes” votes on switching Turkey’s system of governance to an executive presidency are slightly ahead of votes cast against it in a referendum that took place on Sunday, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported in the evening of the same day.

According to the unofficial results, with 99 percent of all ballots counted:

Yes: 51.3 percent

No: 48.7 percent

Parliament’s approval paved the way for a nationwide referendum on the amendments, which will give the president, a traditionally more ceremonial role, the power to dismiss ministers and Parliament, issue decrees, declare emergency rule and appoint figures to key positions, including the judiciary.

It will also allow the president to be a member of a political party, which is currently prohibited under the constitution as the presidency is expected to exercise impartiality.

The reform will enable Erdoğan to take back the leadership of the ruling party and govern until 2029.

The plans foresee presidential and general elections in 2019, with a maximum of two five-year terms.

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