Early elections in Turkey could take place as soon as November

Published August 18th, 2015 - 06:16 GMT
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's mandate to form a coalition government from rival political groups is looking tentative as the deadline approaches. (AFP/File)
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's mandate to form a coalition government from rival political groups is looking tentative as the deadline approaches. (AFP/File)

Turkey is faced with the strong possibility of being run by a caretaker government ahead of a rerun of the June 7 general election after Prime Minister and Justice and Development (AK) Party leader Ahmet Davutoglu's efforts to form a coalition government with the other parties in parliament proved futile.

Davutoglu was given a mandate to form a government by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on July 9 as no party won a simple majority in the June election.

Since then, the four parties represented in the parliament -- AK Party, Republican People’s Party (CHP), Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) -- have been negotiating for a coalition agreement.

The AK Party and the CHP boast the first and second largest parliamentary groups after the June 7 general election, with 258 and 131 seats, respectively. The MHP and HDP have 80 seats each.

The AK Party began talks with second-placed CHP on July 13, and after a month of negotiations, the process dissolved on Aug. 13 without a compromise.

Davutoglu then sought out the MHP but the talks proved short-lived after the leaders announced there was no agreement following a two-hour meeting.

After the latest attempt to form a coalition government collapsed Monday when Davutoglu met MHP leader Devlet Bahceli in Ankara, the Turkish PM is expected to return the mandate to the president on Tuesday.

Now, with less than five days to go before the deadline to form a coalition government expires, early parliamentary election seems a strong possibility.

According to Yusuf Sevki Hakyemez, a lecturer at Karadeniz Technical University in the northeastern province of Trabzon and head of the Association of Constitutional Lawyers, once Davutoglu returns the mandate, Erdogan could assign someone new to form a government.

"Erdogan can give the mandate to second-placed CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu to form a government," Hakyemez said. "If Erdogan gives the mandate to Kilicdaroglu and he [is not able to form a government], a caretaker government will be formed and then new elections will be inevitable."

According to the Turkish constitution, a caretaker government can be formed only if a government was not formed and if the president decides to hold a new general election.

The constitution says that only the president or the parliament may decide to hold a new election. If the president issues a decision, a Cabinet of ministers will be formed and the president will appoint a temporary prime minister.

In a possible caretaker government, the AK Party will have 12 ministers, the CHP will have seven ministers while each of MHP and HDP will have three ministers. The number of ministers is based on the number of MPs a party boasts.

The polling is supposed to be held in the first Sunday following a 90-day period starting from the end of the first deadline.

Any new poll is likely to take place in late November, although Turkey’s election authority has the power to cut the 90-day period by half.

The last coalition talks in Turkey were made 16 years ago, when the Democratic Left Party (DSP) of late premier Bulent Ecevit failed to win the majority in the general election on April 18, 1999.

Since 2002, the AK Party won three general elections to continue a single-party rule for well over a decade, which ended after the June 7 elections this year produced no majority government.

© Copyright Andolu Ajansi

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