Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül to run for president

The foreign minister has a good chance of being elected in the upcoming presidential vote in the parliament, with his moderate Muslim party, the AK, holding a majority in the lower chamber.

On 24 April 2007, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) announced Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah Gül as its candidate for the presidential elections, following a party group meeting.

In a surprise move Prime Minister Erdogan decided to pull out of a candidacy, the possibility of which had brought harsh criticism from secular forces, because of his Islamist political views – thousands of protesters had taken to the streets last week demonstrating against Erdogan.

The move could also boost the AK Party’s chances in the November 2007 general elections, with Erdogan seeking to renew his mandate as prime minister.

Turkey’s president is elected for a seven-year term, requiring a two-thirds majority in the parliament in the first and second rounds (367 of 550) and a simple majority in the third round (276). The AK Party currently holds 354 seats in the Turkish National Assembly.

The first round of votes is due to start on 27 April. The new president is to take office by 16 May 2007.

EURACTIV.tr contributed to this article.

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