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Erdogan could lose more than Istanbul in high-stakes electoral gamble

With many Turks outraged over the nullification of Istanbul's election results, the oppression of dissent and violence expected going into the rerun could backfire on the increasingly authoritarian president.
Ekrem Imamoglu of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), who was elected mayor after the March 31 elections, addresses his supporters after the High Election Board (YSK) decided to re-run the mayoral election, in Istanbul, Turkey, May 6, 2019. REUTERS/Murad Sezer - RC134ED8A270

After the Turkish election board’s decision to nullify the results of Istanbul's municipal elections, Turkey is stepping into new territory. We can expect further oppression of dissent and even violence to set a climate that will ensure victory for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling party in a do-over vote.

While not unexpected, the ruling of the Supreme Election Council (YSK) for a rerun election in Istanbul touched nerves. It is unsettling for not only the Istanbul electorate but all Turks as well as the international community, which has been watching Turkey closely.

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