Erdogan announces snap elections for November
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday said he would call snap elections after coalition talks failed following inconclusive polls in June, adding that he expected the vote to be held on 1 November.
"We will take our country to elections," Erdogan told reporters, saying he would meet parliament's speaker on Monday to make the arrangements. "God willing, Turkey will have the elections again on November 1," he added.
The president’s comments came two days before the constitutional 45-day deadline to form a new government expires. Erdogan indicated that he would use his right to call elections as president, rather than using the alternative route of agreeing the new polls through a motion in parliament.
"Can the president call early elections according to the constitution? Yes, he can," said Erdogan.
A deadline for political parties to agree to form a government following the 7 June elections runs out on Sunday, with the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) failing to form a coalition.
In the 7 June election, the AKP remained the largest party but n a blow to Erdogan's authority over the country the party lost its overall majority for the first time since it came to power in 2002.
Opponents have accused Erdogan of seeking the early election all along and meddling in the coalition talks in the hope the AKP will improve on its vote in new polls.
The leader of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), Kemal Kilicdaroglu, accused Erdogan of “violating democracy" and dismissed the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu’s quiet stance regarding the news.
Kilicdaroglu accused Erdogan of using the new elections to satisfy his ego, even going as far as to say Erdogan is “resuming terrorism so that he could impose a presidential system".
“If he believes in the nation’s will, then the nation rejected the presidential system. He does not believe in the nation’s will. He is putting pressure on the nation. He wants to dictate his own will by creating terror,” the CHP leader said.
Under the constitution, a so-called "election government", comprising all the political parties represented in parliament, will lead Turkey from the calling of the election to the voting day.
The election call comes as Turkey is fighting an "anti-terror" offensive against Kurdish militants and Islamic State fighters, with some critics accusing Erdogan of seeking political gain out of the conflict.
The AKP will be seeking in the election improve on its share of just under 41 percent of the vote last time out, and commentators have described Erdogan's strategy as a major political gamble.