Turkey's President Erdoğan: Election may be repeated if talks fail
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (C) tells a group reporters en route to Istanbul from Baku that going to the ballot box once again might be inevitable, adding that he didn’t call it ‘a snap election, but a re-run.’ AA photoWhat Turkish voters asked for in the June 7 parliamentary election is forming of a coalition government; and if both the incumbent ruling and main opposition party fail to form the new government within the constitutional limit, then a snap election is “inevitable,” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has maintained.
“As a requirement of my political responsibilities, I would first give the mandate to the leader of the political party that got the highest vote. Then we will all together see the developments. If he cannot form it, then, again as a requirement of my political morale, I would this time give the mandate to the leader of the party that got the second highest number of vote. As you know, there is 45-day process. God willing, it won’t extend beyond this,” Erdoğan told a group of journalists, including Hürriyet daily columnist Vahap Munyar, en route from Baku to Istanbul on June 13, after attending the opening ceremony of the first European Games in the Azerbaijani capital.
Turkey’s 63rd government must be formed within 45 days of the mandate being formally given, which pushes the Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader and incumbent Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu to act as swiftly as possible and to engage in coalition negotiations with other political parties. The president has the right to take the country to early polls if political parties fail to form a government within 45 days.
“If everything takes place in its natural course and a coalition is formed then there would be no problem,” he replied, when asked whether any “surprise” could be expected throughout these 45 days.
“But if the party that came first in the election cannot achieve [forming a government] and neither can the second one ... then going to the ballot box again as per the constitution would be inevitable. I don’t call this a snap election, but a re-run,” he added.
Possible meetings with four political parties
In yet another move contrary to state customs, Erdoğan said he plans to hold separate meetings with leaders of the four parties that entered parliament before granting the mandate to form a new government to the AKP, which won around 41 percent of the vote but failed to secure the parliamentary majority required to rule alone.
“I would like to invite them separately and get their opinion about the process,” Erdoğan said. “I may begin these meetings before the deputies are sworn in at parliament, so I could invite them in the coming week,” he added.
The newly elected members of the 25th term of parliament of the Republic of Turkey will gather on the fifth day after the announcement of the final election results by the Supreme Election Board (YSK) and the oath-taking ceremony will take place at first sitting, which is expected to convene on June 23 or 24.
Erdoğan’s intention to meet the four leaders before giving a mandate to one of them is not a traditional practice. Likewise, his initiative to hold a meeting with the former leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), Deniz Baykal, was also a surprise to many as it was not a usual practice. The meeting led to speculation that the president was involved in plans to help form a coalition between the AKP and the CHP, the top two parties in the election, after the former lost its parliamentary majority.
At the time, CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, who was informed of the meeting beforehand and briefed by Baykal afterward, remained silent regarding the process that led to the holding of such meeting.