Turkey's Erdogan officially calls snap elections

AFP , Monday 24 Aug 2015

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (Photo: Reuters)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday called snap polls after his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) failed to form a coalition government with the opposition.

"In line with the constitution the Turkish parliament will undergo renewed elections," the presidency said in a statement, without giving a date for the polls.

Erdogan had been widely expected to call elections for November 1 after meeting with parliament speaker Ismet Yilmaz at his presidential palace to make the arrangements Monday, a day after the deadline for forming a new government expired.

In June, the AKP lost its overall majority in the 550-seat parliament for the first time since it came to power in 2002, forcing the party to seek a coalition partner.

But the AKP's coalition talks with opposition parties failed to produce a government.

Erdogan, a co-founder of the AKP, wants the party to win back an overall majority and govern alone. He is also seeking to fulfil his dream of a presidency with boosted executive powers.

He indicated in recent weeks that he was not in favour of coalition governments, but dismissed criticism that he had impeded the coalition negotiations.

Under Turkey's constitution, Erdogan was obliged to give the second-placed Republican People's Party (CHP) a mandate to lead coalition talks.

But he refused to do so because the CHP's leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu refuses to set foot in Erdogan's controversial and vast new presidential palace.

The opposition has accused Erdogan of violating the constitution, with Kilicdaroglu blasting him for seeking to stage a "civilian coup".

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