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Turkey’s Erdogan set to call snap polls for Nov. 1




Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was on Monday expected to call snap polls likely to be held on November 1 after efforts to form a coalition government failed.

Erdogan is due to meet with parliament speaker Ismet Yilmaz at 1415 GMT a day after the deadline for forming a new government expired.

After the president calls a re-run of elections, he is expected to give a mandate to Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu to form an interim “election government” to take the country to the November polls.

Davutoglu’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) lost its overall majority in the 550-seat parliament in the June 7 elections for the first time since it came to power in 2002, forcing the party to seek a coalition partner.

But the AKP’s talks with opposition parties to form a coalition government after the inconclusive elections produced no results.

Erdogan, a co-founder of the AKP, wants the party to regain an overall majority to form a government alone.

The president indicated in recent weeks that he was not in favour of coalition governments but dismissed criticism he had impeded the coalition negotiations.

Erdogan was obliged under the constitution to give the second-placed Republican People’s Party (CHP) a mandate to lead coalition talks.

But the president refused to do so because the CHP’s leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu refuses to set foot in Erdogan’s controversial and vast new presidential palace.

The opposition has accused Erdogan of violating the constitution, with Kilicdaroglu blasting him for seeking to stage a “civilian coup”.

On Friday, Erdogan, whose plans for a greater presidency with full executive powers were wrecked after the June polls, said he would call repeat elections.

The elections will come at a time of a dual offensive against Kurdish militants and Islamic State jihadists in Iraq and Syria, with some critics blaming Erdogan for operating a “war machine” to seek political gains for his AKP.

A spike in violence between Turkish security forces and Kurdish militants has nullified a 2013 ceasefire with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

The opposition CHP and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) have refused to take part in a short-term election government.

This forces Davutoglu to hold talks with the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) — which he accused of being a PKK front — as well as independent figures to form an interim government.

It remains to be seen if the November 1 polls will see the AKP increase its share of vote and regain its overall majority, with many analysts sceptical that the results will be much different from June 7.

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