Turkish deputy PM rules out early election talk

Turkish deputy PM rules out early election talk

Turkish deputy PM rules out early election talk

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The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government has dismissed hearsay suggesting it intended to hold a new snap election, while arguing that such a move would sabotage the potential offered by “four years of uninterrupted service.”

Comments by Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş on Jan. 20 followed reports claiming the AKP would initiate an early election if it failed to gain support from the Kurdish problem-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) on constitutional amendments which would pave the way for the country’s transition into a presidential system.

Kurtulmuş recalled that Turkey held four elections within two years, when asked about the rumored early election. 

“For the last two years, political debates continued amid these tensions,” he said. “On Nov. 1, [2015,] our nation brought the AK Parti [AKP] to power on its own by around 50 percent of the votes. Now, we have a four-year-long period ahead of us during which there is no election. Thank God, we have the will to carry out the political and economic reforms which we mentioned in our government’s program in these four years. The nation provided us with the authority. A political atmosphere has developed. There is a need to not disrupt this,” Kurtulmuş said in an interview with A Haber news channel.

“The intent of terror organizations is to disrupt this anyway. They want to create an environment of political and economic instability in Turkey. Therefore, I consider that another [snap] election would mean beating this four-year-long uninterrupted service process with a hammer. Such a thing is not on our agenda,” he said.

On March 30, 2014, Turkey held local elections which were followed by presidential elections on Aug. 10, 2014, in which Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who had been the country’s prime minister since March 2003, was elected in a popular vote as president. On June 7, 2015, Turkey held regular parliamentary elections, yet the results didn’t produce a single-party government and coalition talks failed, leading up to the Nov. 1, 2015, snap elections.

In the Nov. 1, 2015, election the AKP secured 317 seats in the 550-member parliament. For a constitutional change in parliament, the AKP needed to win 367 seats, though 330 seats would be enough to take the issue to a referendum.

According to a scenario on some media reports, in the event of a failure to secure support from opposition parties for a constitutional change, holding an early election and returning to parliament as a political party which has more than 330 seats seemed as the only way for the AKP to achieve its aims for transition into presidential system in line with willingness of its founding leader, Erdoğan.