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May 10 2019

Elections a fig leaf for autocrats in countries like Turkey – the Guardian

In countries under the rule of authoritarian leaders, voting does not necessarily mean there is democracy since strongmen find methods to produce the results they desire, the Guardian said on Thursday.

In countries such as Turkey, Thailand, Benin, North Korea and Ukraine elections can become a ritual of obedience and provide legitimacy to autocrats, the Guardian said.

"In Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has purged critics, jailed journalists, rewritten the constitution to give himself sweeping new powers and ruthlessly attacked Turkish institutions, but prided himself on winning power at the ballot box," the newspaper said.

Secular opposition candidate Ekrem İmamoğlu was declared the winner of the March 31 mayoral polls in Istanbul by a narrow margin, but Erdoğan’s ruling party lodged an objection alleging fraud and the country's electoral body on Monday ordered a rerun of the election on June 23.

Leaders like Erdoğan always attempt to impair the institutions or mechanisms, like elections, that might prevent them from having limitless control over society and foreign governments that overlook those efforts should ask whether they could be called democratic, the newspaper said.