Monday, June 24, 2019

Democracy wins in Turkey

Three months ago, Turkey's increasingly authoritarian government suffered a shock loss in local elections, losing the mayoralty of Istanbul to an opposition candidate. So the Turkish government made them vote again so they'd get it "right". But it didn't work out the way they'd planned:

Turkey’s opposition has won a high-stakes rerun of the Istanbul mayoral election, a landmark victory in a country where many feared democracy was failing and a serious blow to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Shortly after initial results pointing to a landslide win for opposition coalition candidate Ekrem İmamoğlu emerged on Sunday evening, the candidate of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), Binali Yıldırım, conceded and congratulated his rival.

The repeat election, designed to undo İmamoğlu’s narrow surprise win in the 31 March contest, was an unprecedented test for both Turkey’s fragile democratic institutions and Erdoğan’s political future.

Yıldırım’s swift concession saved the AKP the embarrassment of watching the vote count add up to a second defeat, but the loss is likely to lead to intense new power struggles inside the coalition government. Opposition parties were jubilant.

This looks like a strong backlash against Erdoğan's anti-democratic behaviour, which is good for Turkey's democracy. And it also suggest that Erdoğan is going to respect the vote, rather than trying to overturn it again. Which means that his time in charge is hopefully coming to an end.