Early Election Plan Sparks Turmoil
A plan by Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz to quit later this year to allow early elections plunged the nation back into political turmoil, just as the government was making headway against economic troubles. Senior figures in the coalition slammed an accord Yilmaz reached with an opposition power broker to dissolve the government later this year and set up an interim administration. Investors on the Istanbul stock exchange dumped shares in fear that looming polls and likely leadership squabbles will dampen the fight against an annual inflation rate of up to 100%. Yilmaz and key opposition leftist leader Deniz Baykal announced that they had agreed to hold elections in March 1999--20 months early--in a deal to prevent Baykal from dropping his support for the minority government. Ministers criticized the plan as a recipe for the same instability that has plagued the nation since the mid-1990s.