Turkey looks set for another presidential showdown after the main opposition declared today it would boycott a parliamentary vote on government candidate, Abdullah Gul. The foreign minister is from the ruling Islamist-rooted AK party.
Turkey’s president is elected by parliament, but only if there is a quorum.
The AK Party first proposed Gul back in May. But, fearing his eventual election would give Islamists too much power, the secular opposition boycotted the voting process.
The row ended in the AK calling early elections in which they won an even greater share of the vote. Public opinion is deeply divided about the role of Islam in Turkey, and whether Gul should be president.
One bagel salesman interviewed said he did not think it was a good idea for the president and the prime minister to be from the same party.
However, others see things differently. For example, a woman defended Gul’s Muslim wife’s right to wear a headscarf – something that has been widely criticised. She said it was a personal choice.
Gul now has until Monday to convince the public – and opposition politicians – that he would not pose a threat to Turkey’s secular traditions should he be elected.