Koksal Toptan of the ruling AK party is Turkey’s new speaker of parliament. He was elected in a first round vote after securing backing from the main opposition party. The Islamist-rooted AK Party nominated Toptan on Wednesday in a conciliatory move towards the powerful secular elite. It approves of Toptan who is viewed as a moderate conservative without an Islamist past.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his party now face the more difficult task of picking a candidate for the upcoming presidential election. In May, attempts by the AK party to have Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul elected as head of state sparked massive demonstrations, amid fears his Islamist background would pose a threat to the separation between state and religion.
The presidential vote is expected to take place in the coming weeks.
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