Members of the Turkish parliament have voted in the first round of the Presidential election. However, in a reverse for the government its candidate, foreign minister Abdullah Gul, has failed to win the backing of two-thirds of the members he needs to be elected.
Although his AK party dominates parliament, the AK does not have two thirds of the chamber, and it appears likely, with two rivals running against him, that he will have to wait until the third round, when a simple majority will be enough.
Gul’s last candidature in April was blocked by Turkey’s secular elite, triggering a political crisis. Many in the country fear the AK and Gul are too religious and want to weaken the separation between Islam and the state that is one of modern Turkey’s founding principles. Gul has emerged as the leading candidate after the first round, and the second round of voting will be held on Friday.