Ekrem Imamoglu, mayoral candidate of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), greets supporters at a rally of in Beylikduzu district, in Istanbul, Turkey, June 23, 2019. REUTERS/Kemal Aslan
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When the Turkish High Election Council, dominated by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's appointees, annulled Istanbul's all-important municipal election on May 6, the world was right to be concerned. But now that another vote has been held, it is Erdogan who should be worried.This year's local elections -- originally held on March 31 -- have been widely regarded as a referendum on Erdogan's authoritarian rule. The opposition ignored those who wanted it to boycott the revote, and instead went into the new election with even stronger resolve, soundly defeating Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AK Party), which has ruled Turkey since 2002, and Istanbul since 1994 .Once in power, Erdogan emphasized his popularity among "the people," and enjoyed several electoral victories over the past 17 years.Until recently, this skewed playing field meant that Erdogan could keep winning elections and basing his legitimacy on popular support. Erdogan's attempt to reverse the outcome of Istanbul's election followed the same logic. While Maduro did initially come to power through an election, his rule has always been based on his control of the army, and he has since given up any pretense of popular legitimacy.
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