TURKEY: Coalition faces death by censure vote

07 June 1996

The centre-right coalition was expected to collapse on 3 June when the main Islamist opposition brought a vote of censure before parliament. Political commentators expect the vote of no-confidence to force Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz to resign and say it could lead to new general elections.

Former premier Tansu Ciller and the True Path Party (DYP) were expected to support the motion against Yilmaz and his Motherland Party (ANAP) despite being full partners in the coalition. With about 290 seats between them in the 550-member house, the DYP and the Islamist conservative Welfare Party (Refah) could easily muster the 276 votes required to bring down the government. The Republican Peoples' Party and the ultra-nationalist Grand Unity Party were also expected to support the motion.

Turkish press reports speculated the vote might pave the way for an alternative coalition of Islamists with the DYP. It would be the first Islamist-dominated government in the 73-year history of the republic. Refah was denied power when the ANAP/DYP coalition was formed in March despite being returned as the largest parliamentary grouping in endDecember elections.

Refah was able to bring the censure motion following a constitutional court ruling that the vote of confidence secured by the coalition in March was invalid. The Islamists decided to introduce their motion after Yilmaz refused to resign after the DYP withdrew its support on 25 May. Ciller declared the previous day that the coalition was legally and practically dead.

President Demirel has refused to be drawn into party squabbling and expects the present government to remain in office until it resigns or is toppled by a no-confidence vote.

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