In Turkey, right-wing opposition leader, Suleyman Demirel, has agreed to try and form a new government.
In Turkey, right-wing opposition leader, Suleyman Demirel, has agreed to try and form a new government. Mr. Demirel, whose Justice Party gained a substantial victory in recent parliamentary by-elections, accepted the request from President Fahri Koruturk and said he would start contacts immediately with other party leaders. Later, on Wednesday (24 October), a joint session of Parliament extended martial law for another two months in nineteen different provinces. The day before, the country's Upper and Lower Houses met to swear in new members.
SYNOPSIS: Turkey's National Assembly met on Tuesday (23 October) to swear in the country's new MP's. The Speaker of the Assembly supervised the inauguration ceremony, in which five new members of the Lower House were admitted.
Mr. Demirel was in the front row, following his party's large gains over the rival Republican People's Party (RRP) of Mr. Bulent Ecevit. Within twenty-four hours, Mr. Demirel was to announce the beginning of negotiations with rival party leaders--such as Necmettin Erbakan, of the National Salvation Party--to try and form a government.
The Justice Party was well represented in the Turkish Senate, too, where thirty-three of the fifty new senators to be sworn in were members of Mr. Demirel's party.
Despite its election successes, Mr. Demirel's party still has less seats in the Lower House than the rival RPP. Two right-wing parties have offered their support, but Mr. Demirel has not said whether he will accept their offers. One of the main problems that would face his government--if he succeeds in forming one--is the political violence which has claimed two thousand lives in the past year.
On Wednesday, the two Houses approved a further two-month extension of martial law-- suggested by Mr. Ecevit and now likely to be inherited by his successor.