Tur­key snap poll on cards as cri­sis sends lira crash­ing


Tur­key’s elec­tion board on Thurs­day pro­posed hold­ing snap leg­isla­tive polls on Nov. 1, adding to ten­sions amid a grave se­cu­rity cri­sis and send­ing the Turk­ish lira to a new his­toric low.

The date for the polls is con­sid­er­ably sooner than most com­men­ta­tors had ex­pected af­ter ef­forts to form a coali­tion ended in fail­ure fol­low­ing in­con­clu­sive June 7 polls.

The pro­posal, which was pre­sented to po­lit­i­cal par­ties be­fore a fi­nal de­ci­sion is made, comes three days ahead of an Au­gust 23 dead­line for form­ing a new gov­ern­ment.

The Higher Elec­tion Board (YSK) will de­ter­mine an ex­act date for elec­tions af­ter the par­ties give their opin­ion.

Prime Min­is­ter Ah­met Davu­to­glu’s rul­ing Jus­tice and De­vel­op­ment Party (AKP) lost its over­all ma­jor­ity in the June elec­tion for the first time since it came to power in 2002.

Davu­to­glu for­mally told Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan this week that he had failed to form a coali­tion gov­ern­ment.

Un­der the con­sti­tu­tion, Er­do­gan should now be obliged to give a man­date to the sec­ond-placed Repub­li­can Peo­ple’s Party ( CHP) to form a new gov­ern­ment.

But the pres­i­dent in­di­cated Wed­nes­day he would not do so.

If Er­do­gan in­vokes his right to call the elec­tion him­self, an in­terim “elec­tion gov­ern­ment” will be in charge un­til the polls -- to be made up of all four par­ties in the par­lia­ment.

But the CHP and third-placed Na­tion­al­ist Move­ment Party ( MHP) have an­nounced they will not take part in a short-term gov­ern­ment.

Cur­rency Bat­tered

In­vestors have been rat­tled by the prospect of early elec­tions and po­lit­i­cal un­cer­tainty as well as spi­ralling vi­o­lence be­tween Turk­ish se­cu­rity forces and Kur­dish mil­i­tants, smash­ing a 2013 ceasefire.

Tur­key’s em­bat­tled lira on Thurs- day hit a new his­toric low in value against the U.S. dol­lar, break­ing the ceil­ing of three lira to the dol­lar for the first time.

The cur­rency hit 3.0031 lira to the dol­lar in early morn­ing trade, ac­cord­ing to Bloomberg, be­fore ral­ly­ing very slightly to 2.99 to the green­back -- a loss in value of 2.25 per­cent on the day so far.

The Turk­ish cur­rency has now de­clined 10.65 per­cent against the dol­lar over the last month, and 27.88 per­cent since the start of the year.

Er­do­gan said Wed­nes­day that Tur­key was swiftly head­ing to a new elec­tion, adding that the only so­lu­tion in the cur­rent po­lit­i­cal dead­lock was turn­ing to the “will of the na­tion.”

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