ANKARA, May 7 (KUNA) -- The Turkish Parliament started on Monday
discussions of a proposal by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) on
amending the constitution to have the country's president elected directly by
voters and not by legislators.
AKP candidate for a president, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, has failed
Sunday for the second time to win the "president" as a quorum of 367
legislators did not attend since the opposition parties' boycotted the
parliamentary vote. Gul opt for withdrawal.
Gul said that he had withdrawn as there was no use carrying on with the
especially that the opposition parties insisted on boycotting the vote. He
criticized them for their absence, an act not fit for democracy not decent
He added that he abandoned the candidacy for a president and that it would
be up to the people to decide.
Gul's nomination for the post had triggered a political crisis in Turkey
between liberals and the Islamic parties due to the fear that an "Islamist"
would be at the helm.
However, Gul's withdrawal is not the end, but the start of a wider conflict
as the political parties have prepared themselves compete with the AK Party
which enjoys highest rates of popularity.
The AKP believes that amending the constitution would help their candidate
to be the President due to Party's popularity among Islamists and moderates.
Analysts believe Gul has realized a victory through withdrawal because it
will make him gain more popularity together with his party in the forthcoming
early elections. To them he has been exposed to prejudice just as he is a
Muslim and his wife wears a Hijab. (end)
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