The parliament in Turkey has approved a major change in the constitution, which means the country’s president would be elected directly by the people instead of by MPs. The ruling AK party has brought forward parliamentary elections by three and a half months, after the secular opposition had brought the government to a virtual standstill with a voting boycott.
The Prime Minister’s close ally, Abdullah Gul, pulled out of the presidential race at the weekend because of the instability caused by the opposition’s refusal to vote. This amendment to the constitution has to be further debated, and approved a second time, before the President approves it into law. However, commentators believe he – or the courts – will throw it out.