Turkey’s New Parliament Opens

Turkey’s New Parliament Opens
Turkey’s New Parliament Opens

Turkey’s new parliament on Tuesday held its first session after elections in which the ruling Justice and Development Party lost its overall majority, with the contours of a coalition government becoming clearer but far from agreed.

The results of the June 7 vote mean that Turkey is bracing for a coalition for the first time since the ruling AKP came to power in 2002.

The opening of the single-chamber parliament, the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, was a largely ceremonial affair, with each of the 550 deputies individually swearing oath in a marathon event, France24 reported.

But the meeting also fired a starting shot for the parties’ formal efforts to agree a coalition after an election seen as one of the seismic events in Turkish politics in recent decades.

It also started the process to elect the new parliament speaker, with parties set to propose their candidates in the next five days.

While the AKP emerged as the largest party, the results were a blow to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who had been hoping the new parliament would agree on a new constitution to cement his powers.

Turkish media have suggested that Erdogan will this week give Prime Minister and AKP leader Ahmet Davutoglu the mandate to form the new government.

Should the parties fail to form a coalition within 45 days, Erdogan can then call early elections, an option he has warned he will use should the talks fail.

Davutoglu has denied that any deal has been reached but, after a bruising election campaign, insisted he was open to a coalition.

“Our doors are not closed, our mind is not closed, our ears are not closed, our heart is not closed.”