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Turkish opposition fails miserably in critical election test

Turkey’s June 24 elections will likely have significant and lasting effects on the future of the opposition.
Muharrem Ince, presidential candidate of Turkey's main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), addresses his supporters during an election rally in Istanbul, Turkey June 23, 2018. REUTERS/Osman Orsal - RC1C225D63F0
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The headquarters of Turkey's main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) became a major nerve center on the evening of June 24 after voters went to the polls to elect the country’s first executive president and a new parliament. As a precaution against voting fraud, the CHP had set up its own election coordination platform in cooperation with other opposition parties. Hundreds of IT specialists and other volunteers were on duty at the party’s election center to operate an alternative counting system for the vote. They were supposed to receive counts from ballot box overseers across the country, enter them into a computerized system and crosscheck the results announced by the Higher Electoral Board (YSK) and the government-controlled Anadolu news agency, which the CHP had accused of planning results manipulation for months.

After the polls closed at 5 p.m., hundreds of CHP supporters flocked to the party’s headquarters in anticipation of the count. As the crowd waited excitedly in the yard, party officials and journalists gathered in front of giant screens inside the building. Then something unexpected happened: The figures that hit the screens were not the results of the alternative counting system, but a TV broadcast of Anadolu's numbers.

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