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As Istanbul celebrates, Erdogan-watchers hold breath

Turkey's president has so far reacted calmly to his party's second and decisive defeat in the Istanbul mayoral vote, but this hopeful moment could presage a darker future.
Supporters attend a rally of Ekrem Imamoglu, mayoral candidate of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), in Beylikduzu district, in Istanbul, Turkey, June 23, 2019. REUTERS/Kemal Aslan     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY - RC18D68868E0

The opposition’s stunning landslide victory in yesterday’s controversial redo of the Istanbul municipal polls has reignited hopes that Turkey’s democracy, which seemed to be in its death throes, has some fight in it still.

Ekrem Imamoglu, the once obscure former Republican People’s Party (CHP) mayor of Beylikduzu, an ugly urban sprawl on the edge of Istanbul, defeated his governing Justice and Development Party (AKP) rival Binali Yildirim by a whopping 800,000 votes compared with the measly 13,000 ballots in the first run. The result is widely seen as the biggest setback faced by the country’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who pressured electoral authorities to invalidate the March 31 results in Istanbul in the hope of winning this time.

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