Erdogan keeps low profile as coalition talks set to begin

2015-06-09 18:52
Recep Tayyip Erdogan (AP)

Recep Tayyip Erdogan (AP)

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Istanbul- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was keeping a low profile on Tuesday, having not been seen in public since his Justice and Development Party (AKP) failed to secure an outright majority in parliamentary elections for the first time in its history.

Erdogan, however, is expected to meet with Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu - also of the AKP - later in the evening.

With 40.8% of the vote, the AKP has 258 seats in the 550-member parliament, forcing the party to form a coalition to govern.

The far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), with 16.29 per cent of the vote, announced it will begin coalition talks Wednesday.

However the largest opposition party, the centre-left Republican People's Party (CHP), baulked at joining a coalition with the AKP.

"The people are saying unite, but in the picture there is no AKP," said CHP head Kemal Kilicdaroglu.

Selahattin Demirtas, chairperson of the pro-Kurdish People's Democracy Party (HDP), also rejected coalition talks, saying, "We will not participate in any coalition in which the AKP is represented."

The HDP received 13.12% of the vote, giving it 80 seats on its debut in the Turkish parliament.

The country's largest minority, making up about 15% of the population, the Kurds have long complained about systematic discrimination.

The centre-left CHP had about 24.9% of the vote.

Starting in 2002, the era of AKP rule as the sole governing party was marked by a period of relative political stability and economic growth, though sluggish performance of late has damaged its popularity.

The AKP had hoped to get 330 seats in Sunday's election to be able to put forward a referendum on changing the system of government.

Opposition parties have been largely against Erdogan's proposed presidential system, worried it would further erode democracy and concentrate power in one office, amid a growing consensus among critics that Erdogan has become increasingly authoritarian.

The opposition has also charged that Erdogan - who was prime minister for 11 years before being elected as president last year - violated campaign laws in the lead up to the election.

Read more on:    recep tayyip erdogan  |  turkey

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