Turkish lawmakers sworn in as coalition questions loom

AP News
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Posted: Jun 23, 2015 12:48 PM
Turkish lawmakers sworn in as coalition questions loom

ISTANBUL (AP) — Turkey's lawmakers were sworn in to office during a ceremony in Ankara on Tuesday, an early step in what could be a drawn-out coalition-building process.

The country's 550 newly elected parliamentarians ascended to the podium one-by-one to take the oath of office in the assembly room of Turkey's monumental parliament building.

The swearing-in is a formality, but it sets the stage for the election of a speaker and what some observers believe will be a long negotiation process. Turkey's ruling, Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party came first in the June 7 elections but lost its parliamentary majority, forcing it to seek a partner in one of the three main opposition parties in order to govern.

But deep divisions and a bitter campaign mean that may be hard to do. As lawmakers took their turns to take the oath, guests on Turkish broadcasters speculated as to whether the ruling party would ally with rival secularists or Turkey's hardline nationalists.

An early hint at the way things are going will come as lawmakers elect a speaker, a process that could take several rounds of voting spread out over several days and could even stretch into next week. Putting together a ruling coalition could take many weeks longer.

Turkey's Hurriyet daily said it would be a "hot political summer."