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 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". 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 has accused of being a front for Kurdish militants from the outlawed PKK - as well as independent figures to form an interim government. It remains to be seen if November's polls will see the AKP increase its share of vote and win back an outright majority, with many analysts sceptical that the results will be much changed from June 7. Marc Pierini, visiting scholar at Carnegie Europe, said the AKP has a chance of winning back its simple majority but would be unable to win the three-fifths of seats needed to call a referendum to change the constitution and give Erdogan the broader powers he craves.