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28/09/2016

Erdogan admits Turkey must hold new election

Elections

Erdogan admits Turkey must hold new election

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

[Wikimedia]

Turkey is heading rapidly toward a new election and only the “will of the people” can break a political deadlock after the ruling AK Party failed to form a working government, President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an said on Wednesday (19 August).

Prime Minister Ahmet Davuto?lu formally ended attempts to find a junior coalition partner on Tuesday (18 August) after weeks of talks with opposition parties failed, handing the mandate back to Erdo?an and making a snap election almost inevitable.

>>Read: Turkey’s ruling AK Party fails to form a government

“Because of the failure to form a government, we have to seek a solution with the will of the people … so we are heading rapidly toward an election again,” Erdo?an said in a speech to local officials, broadcast live on television.

Presidency sources said he would consult with the parliamentary speaker on the formation of a new government later on Wednesday.

The AK Party, which Erdo?an founded, in June suffered its biggest election setback since coming to power in 2002, failing to win a single-party majority for the first time.

Erdo?an could now hand the mandate to form the next government to the Republican People’s Party (CHP), although he appears unlikely to do so, according to local media reports.

According to Hurriyet, Erdo?an told academics at meeting on Wednesday he favored forming an interim “election cabinet” before new polls in autumn.

An interim, power-sharing government would likely be a fractious one and could further unravel investor confidence. Political uncertainty has already sent the lira currency down 20% this year and to a series of record lows over the last week.

Parliament could in theory also vote to allow the current cabinet to continue working until a new election, but at least one of the opposition parties, the nationalist MHP, has already said it would vote against such a move.

Erdo?an, who won Turkey’s first popular presidential election in August 2014 and has since stretched the powers of a largely ceremonial post to their limits, has said the system of power has changed in Turkey.

“There is now a president in the country not with symbolic power, but with literal power,” he said recently.

Background

The Turkish general election of 2015 took place on 7 June 2015 in all 85 electoral districts of Turkey to elect 550 members to the Grand National Assembly. This was the 24th general election in the history of the Turkish Republic, electing the country's 25th Parliament. The result was the first hung parliament since the 1999 general election.

For the 2015 election, the heavily Kurdish, leftist HDP (People's Democratic Party) put forward lists instead of running independent candidates despite concerns that it could fall short of the 10% election threshold. The party exceeded expectations by polling 13.12% of the vote, won 80 MPs and is tied with the Nationalist Movement Party as the third largest political group in Parliament.

Many observers cite the HDP's success as the reason for Prime Minister Ahmet Davuto?lu being unable to form a government. Critics contend that Davuto?lu decided to go to war against the PKK and ISIS, to create a crisis necessitating a return to the polls.

>>Read: Kurdish party damages Erdogan in Turkish election