Turkey's Constitutional Court invalidates first round in presidential elections

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Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Abdullah Gül
Image: José Cruz/ABr, 2006.

Turkey's Constitutional Court has annulled the first round of voting in the presidential election, ruling that there were not enough members present at the parliamentary vote for it to be valid. The court ruled 9-2 in favor of the challenge.

Opposition parties, who boycotted the vote, challenged the result in court on the grounds that the were not enough MPs in attendance to achieve quorum which is set at two-thirds of the 550 member Grand National Assembly of Turkey. The government argued that only one-third or 184 MPs were needed for quorum.

In Friday's vote, Abdullah Gül got 357 votes. The governing party, Justice and Development Party (AKP) has 363 of the 550 seats in parliament. The main opposition party, Republican People's Party (CHP), holds 178 seats. Independents hold the remaining 9 seats.

Government spokesperson Cemil Çiçek said the government will seek to have the required 367 MPs in attendance for a new vote on Wednesday. If the age limit for MPs is lowered to 25 from the current 30, the government is ready to call early parliamentary elections. Early polls have been sought by the opposition and business interests.

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