Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said he will call for a second general election, if a coalition government cannot be formed within 45 days.
“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,” the president told journalists on 13th June.
A new government must be formed within 45 of the formal mandate, which puts pressure on the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu to negotiate with other political parties. If no government is formed within that time, then the president can call for another election.
“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.
Contrary to state customs, Erdogan said he intends to hold separate meetings with the leaders of the four parties that entered parliament before granting the mandate to form a new government with the AKP, which won around 41% of the vote but failed to secure the parliamentary majority required to govern alone.
“I would like to invite them separately and get their opinion about the process,” he 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.
Erdogan’s intention to meet the four leaders before giving a mandate to one of them is not 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 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 two main parties in the election, after the former lost its parliamentary majority.