ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey faces a 50-50 chance of being plunged into a snap election, as the ruling AK Party may balk at entering formal negotiations for a coalition government with the main opposition, a senior AKP member said on Tuesday.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan is seen as favoring early polls, an option that would give the AKP he founded a chance to win back a majority and revive his hopes of furnishing his post with the strong executive powers he seeks.
AKP Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu needs to find a junior coalition partner after June elections where it lost the single-party majority it had enjoyed since 2002.
The AKP has started “exploratory” talks with the main opposition People’s Republican Party (CHP), but progress appears to be slow.
“There is a 50-50 chance of a government partnership or an early election,” Culture and Tourism Minister Omer Celik told reporters after holding talks with senior CHP member Haluk Koc for nearly two hours.
The coalition talks need around 10 to 15 more days, after which presentations will be made to party leaders, Celik said.
“If it is decided that there is ground for forming a coalition, there will be a move from exploratory talks to negotiations... If it is decided that it is not possible to form a coalition, the process will be halted.”
A grand coalition between the center-right, Islamist-rooted AKP and the centre-left, secular CHP would likely be fragile and factious. But it could help placate jittery foreign investors and revive attempts to settle a Kurdish rebellion in the southeast.
Reporting by Ece Toksabay in Ankara and Daren Butler in Istanbul; writing by David Dolan; editing by Ralph Boulton