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Erdogan asks Turkey PM to form new government

10 july 2015, 10:14
0
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. ©AFP
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. ©AFP

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday asked Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu to form the next government, over a month after elections where the ruling party lost its overall majority.

Opposition parties have lambasted Erdogan for the delay in even trying to form the government after the June 7 elections, a lag unprecedented in modern Turkish political history.

Erdogan asked Justice and Development Party (AKP) chief Davutoglu to form the new government in talks at his presidential palace in Ankara, the presidency said in a short statement on its website.

The ruling AKP, co-founded by Erdogan and led by Davutoglu, won the most seats in the elections but lost its overall majority for the first time since coming to power in 2002.

The AKP have 258 seats in the 550-seat parliament, the Republican People's Party (CHP) 132, and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and pro-Kurdish People's Democratic Party (HDP) hold 80 apiece.

The loss of the AKP's majority was seen as a blow for the ruling party as well as the authority of Erdogan himself, who dominated Turkey from 2003-2014 as premier and since August last year as president.

Analysts have seen an AKP-MHP coalition as the most likely option, with an AKP-CHP "grand coalition" also possible. The HDP has ruled out taking part in a coalition with the AKP.

An anti-AKP coalition between the opposition was seen as a non-starter, as the nationalist MHP refuses to work with the HDP.

NTV television quoted sources in the prime minister's office as saying Davutoglu would seek to hold an initial round of talks with all of the opposition parties by next Wednesday to sound them out on a coalition.

Davutoglu early Thursday said he expected to conduct initial talks on forming a coalition in the next week before official business in the country winds up on July 17 for the post-Ramadan holidays.

Speaking to his party earlier Thursday, Davutoglu promised to be "constructive" and not to "deprive Turkey of a government".

  'Snap polls more likely' 

But in a television interview late Wednesday the premier had again refused to rule out early elections if the need arises.

"If we need to once more go to the people then we are ready for new elections," Davutoglu said.

In the days after the voting, markets had been reassured by conciliatory signals from the parties that they would work to form a coalition.

But in recent days there have been new signs that early elections remain a real possibility.

Erdogan can call new elections if Davutoglu fails to form a coalition within a 45-day deadline.

Some commentators believe that this in reality is the AKP's preferred option and the pro-government press have in the last days been full of opinion polls suggesting its vote would rise in a snap poll.

Meanwhile, the opposition is in no hurry to associate itself with the AKP after a bitter election campaign.

MHP leader Devlet Bahceli and CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu on Wednesday both gave separate newspaper interviews suggesting that the other would make a better coalition partner for the AKP.

Meanwhile, a major stumbling block in front of a coalition between the AKP and MHP is the nationalist party's entrenched opposition to the peace process with Kurdish rebels.

"There is still a chance to form a coalition, but the probability of a new vote is now more likely than two weeks ago," said Deniz Zeyrek, the Ankara bureau chief of the Hurriyet daily.


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