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Snap election is most remote possibility for Turkey

Turkey's President Erdogan makes a speech during a graduation ceremony in Ankara, Turkey

By Ece Toksabay

Holding an early election is the least likely option for Turkey, a deputy prime minister said on Monday, a week before President Tayyip Erdogan is expected to give a mandate to the ruling AK Party to form a government.

For the first time since sweeping to power in 2002, the AKP this month failed to win enough seats in parliamentary polls for a single-party government. It now needs to find a junior partner to form a coalition government or face a snap election.

The uncertain political outlook has weighed on investor confidence in NATO-member Turkey. AKP officials have privately said Erdogan may view a snap election as the best hope for the AKP to win back a majority and help him realise his vision for constitutional change to give him greater power.

But Numan Kurtulmus, one of Ankara’s four deputy prime ministers, said a coalition was a more likely option.

“Official coalition talks have not started yet. Clear messages and views will be given when they start. I think that the possibility of an early election is the most remote possibility,” he told reporters.

On Sunday, Erdogan cited instability among neighbouring states to urge political parties to form a coalition government quickly, or face the prospect of holding another election.

Turkey’s parliament will convene on Tuesday for the first time since the June 7 election so deputies can be sworn in to the 550-seat assembly.

The first item on the agenda of the new parliament will be a vote for a new speaker and the first round of voting was set for Sunday. Candidates for the post will be able to apply from Tuesday until Saturday. The speaker election process is set to be completed within a maximum five days.

Next week, Erdogan is expected to give a mandate to the Islamist-rooted AKP which he co-founded to try to form a coalition government within 45 days.

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