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Turkey's HDP opposition ready to be in cabinet, but sees struggle

Reuters , Tuesday 25 Aug 2015
Selahattin Demirtas
The leader of Turkey's pro-Kurdish opposition Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) Selahattin Demirtas answers a question during an interview with Reuters in Ankara, Turkey, July 30, 2015 (Photo: Reuters)
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The leader of Turkey's pro-Kurdish HDP opposition said on Tuesday his party was ready to take part in an interim power-sharing government but that he would not be surprised if the prime minister tried to form a cabinet without the HDP.

President Tayyip Erdogan formally called for fresh parliamentary elections late on Monday in a widely anticipated move after two months of coalition talks failed to produce a coalition government ahead of a deadline.

Erdogan is expected to meet Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu later on Tuesday and ask him to form a temporary power-sharing government ahead of an election slated for Nov. 1.

Selahattin Demirtas, leader of the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), said he believed all his party's deputies were eligible for cabinet positions, apart from its co-leaders, who would be responsible for election preparations. But he warned of efforts to exclude the HDP.

"We will have no hesitation in exercising our constitutional right and participating in the government," Demirtas told reporters in the capital Ankara, but forecast a struggle.

"We should not be surprised if they breach the constitution and try to form a government without HDP. But such an attempt would be rejected by the Constitutional Court."

Under the constitution, all parties should be represented in an interim "election government" according to the seats they hold in parliament.

But Turkey is in untested waters - never before has such an arrangement been necessary - and the main opposition CHP and the nationalist MHP have already said they will not take part.

That raises the prospect of the interim cabinet being dominated by the ruling AK Party, with seats not taken up by opposition parties being given to "independent" candidates from outside parliament, who could include loyal bureaucrats and former AKP members.

The AKP, founded by Erdogan, lost its majority in a June 7 election for the first time since coming to power in 2002, complicating Erdogan's ambition of forging a more powerful presidency and plunging Turkey into political uncertainty not seen since the fragile coalition governments of the 1990s.

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