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Chances of early Turkish election have increased ‘greatly’

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has failed to appeal to nationalists

By Gulsen Solaker and Ercan Gurses

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Thursday the parliament should take the initiative in calling for an early election after coalition talks failed, and should not leave the decision to President Tayyip Erdogan.

Political parties have until Aug. 23 to agree a working government or Erdogan could call a fresh election. Davutoglu’s AK Party is now expected to talk to the nationalist MHP after its efforts to agree a coalition with the main opposition CHP ended in failure.

Davutoglu said the chances of an early election had increased “greatly” after efforts to form a coalition between his AK Party and the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) failed. In a televised speech, Davutoglu said there was currently no basis for a government partnership. Reuters earlier reported that coalition talks between the two biggest parties had failed, citing officials on both sides.

Davutoglu held a 1.5-hour meeting in Ankara with CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu, a last-ditch effort to agree a grand coalition after weeks of talks between their parties.

“The outcome is negative,” a senior CHP official told Reuters by phone, without giving further details.

The AKP could now try to strike a coalition agreement with the nationalist opposition MHP, but a senior ruling party official said the chances of such a deal were “very slim” and that a snap election in November was a high probability.

The lira currency weakened to a record low of 2.82 to the dollar on the news and stocks fell sharply. Many investors had hoped for a deal between the AKP and the pro-business, centre-left CHP, and fear another election will serve only to prolong uncertainty.

The AKP failed to win a parliamentary majority in an election on June 7, leaving it unable to govern alone for the first time since it came to power in 2002.

The MHP has said it does not favour a coalition with the ruling party, but has hinted it could support a minority AKP government in the short term in return for a new election.

Erdogan has made clear he favours single-party government in Turkey and has made no secret of his ambition to change the constitution and create an executive presidency, virtually impossible without a strong AKP majority.

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