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Saturday, 20 July, 2002, 14:27 GMT 15:27 UK
Turkey PM opposes early poll
Bulent Ecevit
Bulent Ecevit had agreed to a November poll (AP)
Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit has said he will try to delay elections despite an earlier decision by his coalition government to hold early polls in November.

Mr Ecevit said he hoped to persuade deputies to back him.


Under a decision we took today, our [parliamentary] group managers will meet with administrators from other parties to define in detail their wishes on an election date

Bulent Ecevit

"Our preference is to hold early elections not this year but some time next year," Mr Ecevit said after a meeting of his Democratic Left Party (DSP).

He added that, if possible, he would like them delayed even further, until the government's term ends in April 2004.

Mr Ecevit's government lost its parliamentary majority last Tuesday after more than 60 of his supporters defected in protest at the prime minister's refusal to step down.

He agreed to hold elections on 3 November after pressure from his coalition allies and defectors from his own party.

Election welcomed

An early election was welcomed by his coalition partners and opposition parties.

Financial markets also saw the decision as a relief, ending weeks of wrangling and instability.

The ailing prime minister, who is 77, has battled illnesses for the past two and a half months.

Another twist in Turkey's drawn-out political turmoil came last Thursday when an opposition party called for a no-confidence vote against Mr Ecevit.

The Saadet Party wants the vote to take place on Monday when deputies are recalled to vote on the November election.

But the attempt may fail because the agenda has already been set.


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18 Jul 02 | Europe
09 Jul 02 | Business
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