June 15, 2015 / 8:43 AM / 4 years ago

Turkish opposition parties should form new government - CHP leader

ANKARA (Reuters) - Opposition parties should form Turkey’s next government, the head of the main opposition said on Monday, as the ruling AK Party seeks a coalition partner after failing to win a majority in the June 7 election.

Women standing at a window listen to pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair Selahattin Demirtas, as a poster of main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu is seen in the foreground, during an election rally in Istanbul, June 6, 2015. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

President Tayyip Erdogan has said he plans to grant a mandate to form a government to the AKP, the Islamist-rooted party he founded more than a decade ago, after it won 40.9 percent to remain the largest party in parliament.

But the centre-right AKP, which lost votes to both pro-Kurdish and nationalist opposition parties, needs a junior coalition partner to govern, raising fears for political stability in Turkey, a strategically important NATO member.

“The principal duty to form a government falls to the 60 percent (opposition) block,” Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu told a news conference.

The Turkish lira lost 1 percent to 2.74 against the dollar after his remarks, a move some dealers said reflected investor concerns about a possible opposition coalition.

For most of the AKP’s time in power since 2002, Turkey has seen impressive rates of economic growth, even though the economy has slowed in recent years and unemployment has risen.

But an opposition coalition seems unlikely, given deep ideological rifts between the parties - the secularist, centre-left CHP, the right-wing Turkish nationalists of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and the left-wing, pro-Kurdish HDP.

Erdogan said on Sunday a snap election would be “inevitable” if the parties fail to form a new government within the constitutional limit of 45 days - an option some believe he favours in the hope that Turks might flock back to the AKP.

An opinion survey by pollster MAK, seen as close to the government, gave some credence to this scenario on Monday by

suggesting the AKP would win 44 percent in a snap election - probably enough to form a government on its own.

“UNACCEPTABLE” MEDDLING

MAK chairman Mehmet Ali Kulat told Reuters the increase in the AKP vote was driven by voters abandoning the HDP. The pro-Kurdish party’s share of the vote was seen falling to around 10 percent from the 13.1 percent it won this month.

Kilicdaroglu said it was “unacceptable” for Erdogan to be a primary political actor while coalition talks were underway and he must stay within the boundaries set by the constitution.

Erdogan, who served as prime minister from 2003 until last year, is now supposed to be above party politics as president but his frequent speeches at pre-election rallies drew criticism that he was stumping for the party.

On Monday, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu chaired a cabinet meeting which could shed light on his coalition efforts.

The MHP has been seen as a strong potential partner for AKP, but its supporters fiercely oppose a peace process with Kurdish militants which Erdogan has said will remain a priority.

The MAK survey, which quizzed 5,500 people on June 11-14, showed the most favoured coalition option, with 22 percent support, was an AKP-MHP alliance.

A coalition between the CHP, MHP and HDP was favoured by 20 percent of respondents and an AKP-CHP coalition by 18 percent. Some 22 percent favoured holding a snap election.

Writing by Daren Butler; Editing by Gareth Jones

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