Ankara, Aug 12 () - In a move widely interpreted as a strong sign of his desire for an early election, Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan said he doesn’t have any authority to extend the approaching deadline for the forming of a new coalition.
“I don’t have any authority to stretch out the 45 day [deadline]” Erdoğan said, responding to questions from reporters late on Aug. 11, when asked whether he planned to use an initiative to extend the deadline for ongoing coalition efforts. He noted he would take only the required steps according to his presidential authority within the 45 days.
As a matter of fact, less than a week after the June 7 parliamentary election, Erdoğan said a snap election would be “inevitable” if both the incumbent ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Republican People’s Party (CHP), who both received the highest number of votes in the election, failed in efforts to form a new government within the constitutional limit of 45 days.
Erdoğan gave the mandate to form a new government to incumbent Prime Minister, AKP leader Ahmet Davutoğlu, on July 9 and the deadline for an agreement on a working coalition is Aug. 23 or Erdoğan could call a new election.
The AKP lost its parliament majority in this year’s June 7 election for the first time since it came to power, plunging Turkey into political uncertainty not seen since the fragile coalition governments of the 1990s.
Erdoğan said his initiative or “the chronological process,” should be respected.
The president said he would not let the country remain without a government, as he interpreted Article 116 of the constitution as a way to use his authority for paving the way for new government formulas.
“If a new Council of Ministers cannot be formed within forty-five days … [of parliamentary elections] without being defeated by a vote of confidence, the President of the Republic may likewise, in consultation with the President of the Turkish Grand National Assembly, call for new elections,” says the Article 116.
Erdoğan refused to elaborate when asked if he is willing a snap election.
The president has made little secret of his preference for a single-party rule. Opponents say he wants another election to enable the AKP to win enough of a majority to change the constitution and grant him greater powers as an executive president.