Turkey Heads to Polls Again After Missing Coalition Deadline

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Turkey heads to elections for the second time in less than six months after political parties missed the deadline to form a governing coalition.

The AK Party co-founded by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lost its parliamentary majority to form a single-party government in June balloting for the first time in more than a decade. Efforts to form a coalition collapsed within the 45-day period allotted by the constitution, and the deadline expired midnight Sunday. Erdogan is expected to officially declare new elections after meeting with Parliament Speaker Ismet Yilmaz later Monday.

On Friday, Erdogan said the new round of voting would take place Nov. 1, although the date will officially be decided by the Supreme Election Board. It will be the first time in Turkey’s history that the president, rather than parliament, will call elections.

Interim Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Sunday he would invite individual opposition lawmakers to join a provisional cabinet if asked by Erdogan to form one to govern until elections. This would allow him to sidestep the objections of the two main opposition parties, MHP and CHP, to joining an interim administration. The pro-Kurdish HDP has threatened to boycott a provisional cabinet if it isn’t represented.

The political wrangling has been accompanied this month by escalating clashes with Kurdish militants in the country’s southeast and violence spilling over from the war in Syria.

Investor Concern

The clashes, which have left about 1,000 dead, according to Anadolu, have intensified investor concerns that political uncertainty is hitting the economy. Data published Friday showed consumer confidence dropped to the lowest level in more than six years in August.

The currency depreciated as much as 2.3 percent to 2.9865 per dollar on Monday, before recovering partly to 2.9594 at 8:25 a.m. in Istanbul. The lira is the third-worst performing currency in emerging markets this year.

The yield on Turkey’s two-year government debt has soared more than 3 percentage points this year to 11.13 percent, the biggest increase among major markets worldwide.

Erdogan, breaking with conventional practice, didn’t ask Kemal Kilicdaroglu, leader of the main opposition CHP, to try his hand at forming a government after AKP failed. Erdogan cited Kilicdaroglu’s refusal to meet him at his newly built, 1,150-room palace.

“It appears that it is not possible to form a government in which AK Party is not included,” acting Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said in an interview with Haberturk newspaper. “Mr. President may have decided to decline giving the mandate to form a government to someone else in light of this reality. It’s his own choice.”

For more, read this QuickTake: Turkey’s Continental Divide

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