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Ankara’s economic tasks grow tougher after election rout

Reeling from a crushing defeat in a critical election rerun, Turkey’s government faces an uphill track in efforts to fix the economy, littered with major political risks, both at home and abroad.
People change money at a currency exchange office in Istanbul, Turkey, May 23, 2019. REUTERS/Murad Sezer - RC1675691900
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The June 23 rerun of the mayoral election in Istanbul ended in a big debacle for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). Ekrem Imamoglu of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), who ran for the CHP-led Nation’s Alliance, beat the AKP’s Binali Yildirim by more than 800,000 votes, a huge increase from his original winning margin of some 13,000 votes. Analysts said many AKP supporters irked by their party’s refusal to recognize Imamoglu’s March 31 victory switched sides, contributed to his resounding victory in the rerun.

The contest for local dominance in Istanbul, Turkey’s biggest city and economic hub, became also a vote of confidence in the AKP in a sense; hence, the defeat is widely seen as a sign that the party’s political might is on a general decline.

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