Turkey's Davutoglu tasked to form new government

AP News
Posted: Jul 09, 2015 3:01 PM
Turkey's Davutoglu tasked to form new government

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday officially tasked Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu to form a government, paving the way for arduous coalition talks to begin, Erdogan's spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said.

Davutoglu's ruling Islamic-rooted party won Turkey's June 7 general election but lost its parliamentary majority, forcing it to seek a partner in one of the three smaller opposition parties in parliament in order to govern.

Davutoglu now has 45 days in which to form a government. New elections are called if no government is formed within that time.

Davutoglu said earlier Thursday that he would begin coalition-building talks with the three parties' leaders next week.

He however, laid down a marker for the coalition talks, saying Erdogan's role was not up for debate.

Davutoglu's most likely coalition partners accuse Erdogan of exceeding his presidential powers and have made reining him in a priority for any alliance.

The coalition talks could also be complicated by opposition demands that corruption cases into four former ministers — who were close to Erdogan — be reopened. Parliamentary probes into the ministers were closed with the ruling Justice and Development Party's majority votes.

Erdogan waited until after the formation of a new parliamentary secretariat, which sets the parliamentary timetable, before formally giving Davutoglu the mandate to form the new government, breaking with tradition. Previously, leaders were asked to form governments about a week after formal election results were announced.

The constitution stipulates that a new government is formed after the secretariat is established, although previous presidents have mandated leaders before the secretariat was established.

The delay prompted opposition parties to accuse the president of trying to extend the ruling party's hold on government and to stall power-sharing with another party.

The Turkish leader is also rumored to want repeat elections, possibly in November, in the hope that the ruling party, which he founded, can regain a majority allowing it to rule alone.

The election not only ended the ruling party's 13-year single party rule but came as a slap to Erdogan's ambitions to switch to a presidential system which would give him broad executive powers.

Since his election as president last year, Erdogan has been accused of overstepping the boundaries of the largely ceremonial presidency, by chairing cabinet meetings and even campaigning on behalf of the Justice and Development Party despite taking the oath for neutrality.