ANKARA: Talks will begin next week to form a new coalition government in Turkey after the ruling party lost its overall majority in a shock electoral setback, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is expected to first ask his AKP party, which came first in June 7 elections but lost its majority for the first time since 2002, to try and form a coalition government.
Davutoglu needs the support of at least one other party to cobble a government. The AKP gained top place in the election but lost its majority for the first time since coming to power in 2002.
“God willing we will start negotiations next week so that our 78 million people are not left without a government,” Davutoglu told supporters late Friday in the central Anatolian province of Konya, his home region.
Davutoglu said he would meet with each of the three other parties in parliament: the second-placed Republican People’s Party (CHP), the third-placed Nationalist Movement Party’s (MHP) and the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party’s (HDP).
The AKP has 258 seats in the parliament, CHP 132, and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) 80 each.
The June election was a blow not only to the AKP’s authority but also to Erdogan, who had been hoping the new parliament would agree on a new constitution to increase his powers.
Davutoglu said that he would prioritise talks with the CHP and MHP as his party’s top brass were veering towards an alliance with them.
Davutoglu said his party was not presently considering forming a coalition with the HDP, which entered parliament for the first time as a party rather than as a group of independent MPs.
By far the most likely coalition option is between the AKP and the nationalist MHP, which both share a core conservative voter base in the centre of the country.
If efforts to form a coalition within the constitutional limit of 45 days are unsuccessful, Erdogan can call snap elections within 45 days.
Erdogan on Friday again warned he could call early elections if coalition talks failed.
“The formation of a coalition with a majority in parliament is my desire,” he told supporters in Istanbul, citing “serious issues” facing Turkey, without elaborating.
“But if a government cannot be formed, our people will provide the solution again. If the parliament cannot solve it, it is our people who will,” he said.
“Nobody should hesitate to go back to the people.”
Some analysts have said that Erdogan sees early elections as the best way for the AKP to regain its power, but recent opinion polls show that any new elections are unlikely to bring much change to the Turkish politics.
But Turkey’s three opposition parties said they would refuse to join a coalition government with the AKP unless Erdogan gives up his hopes of a presidential system.