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Turkey's cabinet resigns as Erdogan seeks coalition partners

Turkey's prime minister has resigned on behalf of the cabinet as the country prepares for a new administration. President Erdogan's AKP party faces a tough challenge in forming a coalition government.

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu met with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to officially resign on Tuesday, a procedural move after which Davutoglu will retain his post until the new government is formed.

Erdogan asked the cabinet to stay on until a replacement could be found and immediately called on his party ally Davutoglu - foreign minister for years during Erdogan's decade as head of government - to form to set about finding a coalition. That process will have to wait, however, until the official election results are published, which could take until as late as next week. Although the official numbers are not yet available, one thing is certain following Sunday's vote: after 13 years of single-party rule, Erdogan's AKP has lost its grip on power and failed to produce an outright majority.

The president must therefore not only reign in his ambitions for a US-style presidency - changes to Turkey's constitution would have required a two-thirds parliamentary majority - but also

seek a junior coalition partner

. The latter will likely prove difficult for Erdogan, as he is known for his fiery rhetoric against his political opponents. At the height of a corruption scandal last year, he called his rivals terrorists and traitors who had created "an alliance of evil."

The usually loquacious Erdogan has made no public comments since Sunday, in stark contrast to his heavy campaign scheule before the vote. The only communication to the outside world was a terse three-line statement after Davutoglu's visit.

"Mr. President accepted today the resignation of the cabinet that was presented by Mr Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu," said the brief statement from Erdogan's office. "Mr. President, who thanked the cabinet for its services so far, asked the cabinet to remain in charge until a new government is formed."

Possible coalition partners seek end to peace talks with Kurds

The most likely coalition partner for the Islamic-leaning AKP is the right-wing National Movement Party (MHP), though senior MHP leader Devlet Bahceli has publicly spoken out against Erdogan's wishes for an executive presidency. Bahceli warned on Sunday that the Turkish leader must "remain within his constitutional limits."

Another possible roadblock to a coalition with the MHP is their vehement opposition to peace talks with

Kurdish

militants the government began to finally quell a three-decade long insurgency in the country's southeast.

"The most likely [coalition partner] is MHP to the similarity in support bases, but their stance is clear, the peace process must end," a senior AKP official said, "time will tell how this can be overcome, or whether it can be overcome."

es/msh (Reuters, AFP)

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