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Last Updated: Tuesday, 14 August 2007, 11:22 GMT 12:22 UK
New Turkey presidency row looms
Abdullah Gul
Abdullah Gul's candidacy causes continuing controversy
Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul has confirmed he plans to stand again as a presidential candidate.

His previous presidential bid sparked huge protests in May because of his Islamist roots. Secular institutions, including the army, opposed him.

Mr Gul said his ruling AK Party, which won a convincing victory in elections last month, was backing his bid.

Opponents dislike the fact that Mr Gul's wife wears the Muslim headscarf, which is banned in state institutions.

The failure of his first presidential bid led to an early general election.

ABDULLAH GUL
Became MP for Islamist Welfare Party in 1991
Founding member of AKP in 2001
Foreign minister since 2003, steered EU accession talks

Mr Gul is meeting opposition party leaders in an attempt to gather support for his election bid.

Under parliamentary rules, candidates must put themselves forward before midnight on 19 August, with the first ballot scheduled for 20 August.

One of the main opposition parties, the MHP, has previously said it would not boycott the latest election, a move likely to ensure a quorum of two-thirds of MPs to make a valid vote.

Lingering opposition

Mr Gul's previous bid for the presidency failed because opposition parties boycotted the two votes in April and May.

In the first and second round of voting a candidate must win a two-thirds majority to be elected - 367 votes out of the total of 550 deputies.

PARTIES IN PARLIAMENT
Turkey Parliament
AKP 341 seats
CHP 99 seats
MHP 70 seats
Kurdish MPs (DTP) 22 seats
Democratic Left Party 13 seats
Independents 4 seats
Total 550 seats

The AKP does not have 367 deputies sitting in parliament.

But in the third and fourth round only an absolute majority of 276 is required.

The governing party has 341 MPs, so the AKP's candidate would be highly likely to win any contest in a third or fourth round.

The largest opposition party, the secular centre-left Republican People's Party (CHP), has stated its continued opposition to Mr Gul's candidacy.

"Gul is a conscious member of an ideological circle," CHP leader Deniz Baykal told CNN Turk television.

"Turkey would become a country in which the political balances were changing very fast, in which the Middle East identity would become more pronounced."
HAVE YOUR SAY
I believe he will be a good President as the AKP did a lot for the economy and the people of Turkey.
Dr.Mohammad Javad Malayeri, Tehran

The job of president is largely ceremonial, but the incumbent has the power to veto legislative bills and government appointments.

The current president, Ahmet Necdet Sezer, often frustrated the government by blocking its initiatives.




VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
The background to Abdullah Gul's renomination



SEE ALSO
Profile: Abdullah Gul
27 Apr 07 |  Europe
Defending the secular 'faith'
28 Apr 07 |  Europe
New Turkish parliament sworn in
04 Aug 07 |  Europe
Gul's presidential bid boosted
26 Jul 07 |  Europe

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