Turkey's governing party names Abdullah Gül as presidential candidate

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Abdullah Gül in Brazil in 2005
Image: Jose Cruz/ABr.

Abdullah Gül, current deputy prime minister and foreign minister of Turkey, has been named as the new presidential candidate by his party, the Justice and Development Party (AKP).

In Turkey, the parliament votes to elect the new President of Turkey. The AKP has 353 of the 550 seats in Grand National Assembly of Turkey. While Gül may not get elected in the first or second round, when a two-thirds majority is needed, their votes are enough to elect the new president at the third or fourth rounds of the election process, when a simple majority is needed. The first round will take place on Friday.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced Gül's selection on Tuesday. The decision comes in the wake of a very large demonstration aimed at dissuading Erdoğan from running himself. Erdoğan said that Gül was "the person who emerged at the end of our evaluations as the candidate to become Turkey's 11th president."

Both the current president, Ahmet Necdet Sezer, and the influential head of the Turkish Armed Forces, General Yaşar Büyükanıt have stressed that the new president must defend Turkey's secular values. To that end Gül said: "the president must be loyal to secular principles... The president must be bound by the basic principles of the constitution... If I am elected I will act accordingly."

The main opposition party, the Republican People's Party (CHP), hinted that it may nominate its own candidate to challenge Gül.

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