Turkey’s Erdogan does not rule out new election

President’s comments come as ruling AK Party and main opposition struggle to form new government within 45-day limit.

Turkish President Erdogan meets Russian President Putin in Baku
Erodgan said he would first give the AKP a mandate to form government, as it had most seats [Getty]

Turkey’s president  says a snap election will be “inevitable” if both the ruling AK Party and the main opposition fail in efforts to form a new government within the constitutional limit of 45 days.

In comments published in the local Milliyet newspaper on Sunday, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he planned to grant a mandate to form a new government first to the AK Party (AKP), which won around 41 percent of the vote in the June 7 election.

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The AKP fell short of the 276 votes needed to command a majority in parliament.

“Let’s say the party who came first in the election could not achieve this [to form a government] and neither did the second one,” Erdogan said late on Saturday as he flew back from Azerbaijan.

“In such a case, going to the ballot box again as per the constitution would be inevitable.”

After parliament is sworn in later this month, Erdogan is expected to empower formally the AKP to form a new government.

If it does not succeed in doing so within 45 days, he has the power to call a new election.

“To leave the country without a government is unthinkable,” Erdogan said in comments reported by Reuters news agency.

“The uncertainty should not last long to make sure investments and our international relations are not disrupted. A government should be formed as soon as possible.”

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Numan Kurtulmus, deputy prime minister, told Turkey’s CNN Turk television that he expected Ahmet Davutoglu, the country’s prime minister and leader of the AKP, to secure a new government in the first round of talks.

“I believe our prime minister will be able to present a coalition alternative that will satisfy Turkey,” Kurtulmus said.

“It is not the end of the world though if it doesn’t happen.”

Testing Turkey’s presidential powers

The AKP Erdogan co-founded remains Turkey’s largest party but its support fell on June 7 from nearly 50 percent in the 2011 election.

Votes were lost to the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), which entered parliament for the first time, and to the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).

In the event of a re-run, the AKP would probably struggle to win back many Kurdish votes but could hope to regain those who turned to the MHP and now regret the prospect of an unstable coalition.

An IPSOS poll shortly after the results were announced suggested the AKP would have had four percent more support if voters had known the outcome in advance.

Source: Reuters


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