Turkey’s Erdogan set to call snap polls for November 1

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

Erdogan was meeting with parliament speaker Ismet Yilmaz at his presidential palace to make the arrangements, a day after the deadline for forming a new government expired, the presidency announced.

The president is also 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 June for the first time since it came to power in 2002, forcing the party to seek a coalition partner.

But the AKP’s coalition talks with opposition parties failed to produce a government.

Erdogan, a co-founder of the AKP, wants the party to win back an overall majority and govern alone. He is also seeking to fulfil his dream of a presidency with boosted executive powers.

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

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

But he 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”.