All eyes on Turkey as Davutoğlu to return mandate today

All eyes are on Turkey as interim Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu is expected to hand over a mandate for government to President Erdoğan today.

With the 23rd August deadline looming, there is growing speculation as to whether or not Erdoğan will give a new mandate to form a government to the leader of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), which gained the second highest number of votes in the 7th June election, as would be the custom if there is no absolute majority.

Davutoğlu has been under pressure from both the CHP and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) to return the mandate after his meeting with Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli failed to produce a coalition on 17th August, while they also called on Erdoğan to give the mandate to the CHP in order to form a new government.

“It has emerged that Mr. Davutoğlu, who received the mandate, has not been able to form a coalition. He should immediately return the mandate to the president. This is what Turkey’s democratic customs require,” CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu told ‘Hürriyet’ after the Davutoğlu-Bahçeli meeting.

“The president should make a new commissioning,” Kılıçdaroğlu said, noting that he believed the 45-day deadline was not in the constitution and thus not “extremely binding.”

“Beyond that, 24 hours is a very long time in politics. Many things can be done and many things can change,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.

HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş told reporters on 18th August that it had become clear that things will “not fall into place without holding a new election.”

“Mr. Davutoğlu needs to return the mandate as soon as possible. It was he himself who said that no possibility for a coalition was left now,” Demirtaş said. “The president should give the mandate to the CHP.”

The HDP would be happy to meet and discuss a possible coalition with the second-biggest party, the CHP, if it is given the mandate, he added.

It is well known that Erdoğan would prefer single-party rule and hopes that a new election would give the AKP the chance to regain its majority.

Under the terms of the constitution, Erdoğan could dissolve Davutoğlu’s caretaker cabinet and call for the formation of an interim “election government” if no deal is reached by 23rd August. That, however, would mean power being shared between all four parties before an election in the autumn – something that Erdoğan is not said to favour.


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