However, this rosy optimism ignores the reality that this year’s two most important elections — in the critical NATO allies of Turkey and Poland — will be administered by regimes that maintain their grip on power through similar autocratic playbooks that result in severely unfair elections, which my coauthors and I explore in our report, “Autocrats Within.”

The electoral playing fields in Turkey in May and Poland in the fall will be tilted in favor of ruling regimes that have sharply curtailed judicial independence and media freedom in their countries. Both regimes also use their relationships with corrupt figures to exert informal influence aimed at ensuring that elections are pose minimal threats to their holds on power. The outcomes of both these elections and the fairness and freedom with which they are conducted will have major consequences for NATO, which is necessarily underpinned by shared democratic values and practices.

The Hill

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