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Erdogan's AKP faces coalition challenge after Turkey election

Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party will have its work cut out forming a new government after losing its parliamentary majority in elections. Failure to find a coalition partner could mean early elections.

Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) was under pressure Monday to find coalition partners for a new government after

failing to achieve an outright majority for the first time in its history.

Forming a coalition is likely to be an uphill struggle, as all three opposition parties have so far said they will not enter any governing alliance with the AKP.

Under Turkish law, the election winner has 45 days to form a new government after official results are confirmed.

Looking at options

Results announced after almost all votes were counted showed the AKP winning Sunday's election with some 41 percent of the votes, giving it a projected 258 seats in the 550-member parliament. That is 18 fewer than the minimum required to rule alone.

AKP leader Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu was scheduled to discuss the party's options with Cabinet and party executives on Monday.

Sources at the prime minister's office said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who co-founded the AKP and led it for many years, would also meet with Davutoglu on Monday to discuss the election results.

The AKP has ruled the country alone since 2002.

Blow to Erdogan

Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus voiced confidence that a coalition could be formed.

"I believe our prime minister will be able to form the government withint the allotted time," he told reporters in the capital, Ankara, while admitting that an early election could be called if no partners were found.

The result put a dampener on plans by Erdogan

to pass constitutional changes that would have enhanced his presidentialy powers.

It will also likely lessen Erdogan's longtime dominance of the Turkish political landscape if he is unable to steer the government through his party.

Turkish shares took a plunge amid the political uncertainty, falling 6 percent in morning trade on Monday.

The lira also took a tumble to a record low of 2.76 to the dollar.

tj/kms (Reuters, dpa, AP, AFP)

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