TURKEY: Yilmaz struggles to form government

04 July 1997

Opposition leader Mesut Yilmaz' attempts to form a broad-based government excluding the Islamist Welfare Party (Refah) on 25 June had still not ensured sufficient support from other parties for a mandatory confidence vote. In particular, he failed to secure vital support from the conservative True Path Party (DYP) led by caretaker Deputy Prime and Foreign Affairs Minister Tansu Ciller for a government to be formed around his conservative Motherland Party (ANAP).

President Suleyman Demirel awarded a government-forming mandate to Yilmaz on 20 June, following the resignation of Islamist Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan two days previously.

In so doing, Demirel followed parliamentary precedent, but also disappointed Ciller. Erbakan had resigned to let her lead a revamped, DYP-Refah coalition into general elections as soon as possible. Yilmaz on the other hand wants to hold combined general and local elections at the earliest in spring 1998.

Yilmaz kept the door open for Ciller and the DYP in one of a series of meetings with party leaders on 24 June, but she maintained any government excluding Refah would be undemocratic. This in effect meant Yilmaz has to win at least 10 DYP dissidents to secure a majority in a mandatory confidence vote.

The ANAP leader on 25 June said he would present his proposed administration to Demirel for his approval on 30 June, read the government's programme to parliament on 11 July, and hold the confidence vote on 13 July.

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