The Economist Aug 8th 2015 by The Economist

The Economist Aug 8th 2015 by The Economist

Author:The Economist
Language: eng
Format: mobi
Tags: news, The Economist
Publisher: The Economist
Published: 2015-08-27T17:49:35.393000+00:00

Turkish politics

The gambler

The president rolls the dice by calling new elections

Aug 29th 2015 | ISTANBUL | From the print edition

WHEN he became Turkey’s first popularly elected head of state last year, Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed to be no “ordinary president”. Departing from political tradition once more, he has now called early elections for the first time in the country’s modern history after his Justice and Development party (AK) lost its 12-year majority in parliament on June 7th and failed to form a coalition government.

The setback has not dented Mr Erdogan’s oft-voiced determination to create a powerful executive presidency. It may even have made a return to the polls more attractive, showing him firmly in charge. “Agree or not, Turkey’s regime has de facto changed,” he said on August 14th, implying that a rewriting of the constitution that he has long sought may be unnecessary. Proving his point, Mr Erdogan has stretched the boundaries of his supposedly non-partisan role. He refused to give the opposition leader, Kemal Kiliçdaroglu of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), the chance to form a government, triggering allegations of staging “a civilian coup”.

Returning to the polls is a gamble, however. Mr Erdogan appears convinced that voters, having directed a warning shot at his party at the recent polls, will return it to power. But pollsters see little evidence of that. For the time being, Ahmet Davutoglu, the prime minister, has been asked to form an interim unity government. Most of the opposition has refused to join, with the exception of the main pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP).



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