Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says he might seek to form a coalition government if his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) fails to secure a majority in the upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections.
“If it is under 300 [seats], then there could be a search for a coalition,” the Turkish leader said in an interview with Kral FM radio station on Wednesday night, adding, however, that the probability of this scenario would be “very, very low.”
Erdogan has long been an ardent critic of coalition governments, believing that the fractious coalition politics was responsible for hampering the Turkish government in the 1990s. Back in May 2015, he even hailed Italy for adopting a law that banned the formation of coalition governments.
The Turkish leader also believes that coalition governments, formed through parliamentary systems, are all against stability in any given country, unlike a presidential system, which boosts stability.
Back in April, Erdogan said parliamentary elections would be brought forward to June 24, more than a year earlier than planned, so that the president could take on executive powers as authorized in last year’s referendum on constitutional reforms.
He argued that his administration was facing numerous legal problems, including economic challenges and the war in Syria that could be solved only with a more powerful presidency.
The AKP has maintained its majority in parliament for nearly all of its almost 16 years in power, only losing it in the June 2015 vote. However, parties failed to form a coalition at the time and Erdogan called a new election in November that year, restoring once again the AKP’s majority.
So far, opinion polls on average have placed the incumbent president around 20 percentage points ahead of his closest rival, Muharrem Ince of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP).
However, if the election goes to a second round between the two candidates, who get the most votes, parties in the “Nation Alliance” that includes the CHP have said they would call on voters to support the alliance’s second-round candidate.
Ince has said if elected as president, he would offer vice presidential roles to leaders of the other parties in their alliance. However, it is not quite clear whether other opposition voters would gather around him in the second round.
Some 60 million registered Turkish voters will be eligible to hit the polls on Sunday in a landmark presidential and parliamentary election, during which votes will be put in a single envelope for the first time.