June 08, 2015

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey’s ruling party was left Monday with few options to form a new government, after it was stripped of its parliamentary majority and opposition parties ruled out joining it in a coalition pact.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s AKP party won about 41 percent of the votes in Sunday’s election and was projected to take 258 seats — 18 below the minimum required to rule alone. The result was a stunning rebuke to Erdogan’s ambitions to expand his powers in a new presidential system.

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu was scheduled to convene his cabinet and party executives Monday to discuss the party’s options as its 13-year single party rule came to an end. The result also puts Erdogan’s hopes of passing constitutional changes that would have boosted his powers on hold. He is likely to see his pre-eminent position in Turkish politics erode without the ability to steer the government through his party.

All three opposition parties have come out against a coalition with the AKP after Erdogan led a fierce and confrontational campaign in favor of the party, brushing aside his constitutional neutrality.

Turkey has 45 days in which to form a new government after final official results are confirmed. The pro-Kurdish HDP party, which dealt the AKP its biggest setback by clearing for the first time a 10-percent threshold for representation as a party in the parliament, slammed the door shut to a formal coalition or an informal pact in which it would provide a minority AKP government outside backing in parliament.

“We have promised our people that we would not form an internal or external coalition with the AKP,” the party’s leader, Selahattin Demirtas said. “We are clear on that.” Turkey’s main opposition party, CHP, suggested it should be given the task of forming a government.

The nationalist MHP party sounded disinclined to work with the ruling party, and suggested that Turkey could hold early general elections. “Nobody has the right to sentence Turkey to an AKP minority government. Whenever there can be early elections, let them take place,” MHP leader Devlet Bahceli said early Monday.

The Turkish currency on Monday dropped to a record low against the dollar over the political uncertainty, trading at 2.8 lira against the dollar.

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