November 17, 2015

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday reappointed Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu to form a new government after his party’s stunning victory in the Nov. 1 election.

The ruling Justice and Development Party, founded by Erdogan, secured a dramatic gain that few had predicted in the parliamentary election, regaining a majority that it lost in the previous election in June.

The Nov. 1 election was a re-run called by Erdogan after Davutoglu failed to form a coalition partnership with any of the three opposition parties in parliament. The new election was held amid renewed violence in Turkey, and Erdogan and Davutoglu argued that only a single-party majority could restore stability. The renewed fighting between Turkey’s security forces and Kurdish rebels has left hundreds of people dead and shattered an already-fragile peace process.

Turkey also suffered two massive suicide bombings at pro-Kurdish gatherings that killed some 130 people, apparently carried out by an Islamic State group cell. Davutoglu was expected to present a Cabinet list for Erdogan’s approval either on Thursday or Friday.

Earlier Tuesday, newly elected lawmakers were sworn into office during a ceremony at parliament’s first session since the election. The oath taken by prominent Kurdish legislator Leyla Zana however, was declared invalid, after she failed to keep to the wording and swore allegiance “before the great nation of Turkey” instead of the “Turkish nation” — avoiding a term many Kurds object to.

Zana also began her oath by turning toward Erdogan and expressing — in Kurdish — her wish “for an honorable and lasting peace” between Turks and Kurds. It was not clear if she would retake the oath. Officials said she would not be able to participate in parliament until she is formally sworn-in.

Zana had caused a storm during a similar oath-taking ceremony in 1991, when she spoke Kurdish in parliament, defying a ban on using the language in official settings. She later spent 10 years in prison for alleged links to the Kurdish rebels.

Zana’s pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party, or HDP, favors the resumption of peace efforts to end the Kurdish conflict.

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