Gül seeks election in first round

The first round of the election for the 11th president of the Turkish Republic will be held today.

Gül seeks election in first round

As in an aborted presidential election in April and May, the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) has not nominated any presidential candidate and has declared that it will not take part in the presidential vote. The support of 367 deputies is needed for election as president in the first and second rounds. The Democratic Society Party (DTP) and the Democratic Left Party (DSP), which have 20 and 13 seats in Parliament, respectively, are the key parties in the election.

After the previous presidential election, held on April 27, the CHP had applied to the Constitutional Court claiming that a quorum of 367 deputies is needed for the vote to be valid and requesting that top court annul the results of first round of voting, which they had not attended. On the same day, the General Staff posted a statement against Gül's presidential bid on its official Web site that later came to be known as an e-memorandum. Agreeing with the CHP's reasoning, the court canceled the vote. Eventually, Parliament decided to hold early elections, which were conducted on July 22 and which ended in an overwhelming victory for the AK Party. The AK Party re-nominated Gül as its presidential nominee, and Gül paid visits to all parties in Parliament, except the CHP, as well as to nongovernmental organizations, seeking support for his bid. Before the first round of the election, Gül is expected to visit former Prime Minister and Rize independent deputy Mesut Yılmaz, Manisa deputy Erdoğan Yetenç, Hakkari independent deputy Hamit Geylani and Freedom and Democracy Party (ÖDP) leader and İstanbul deputy Ufuk Uras to seek their support.

The first round of the election will start at 15:00 and will be overseen by Parliament Speaker Köksal Toptan. A roll call will be held to determine if a quorum of 367 deputies is present in Parliament, and if such quorum is in attendance, the voting will start. Despite the CHP's insistence on not attending the vote, this quorum is expected to be fulfilled. MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli had previously declared that the 367 thesis is wrong and that his party would attend the presidential vote. Although the MHP does not think that its nominee has any chance, it is determined to attend all rounds and vote for its own candidate.

The DSP and the DTP are key parties

The AK Party and Gül have been doing their best to complete the election in the first round. Since Toptan is not allowed to vote, the AK Party has 340 votes to support Gül, and therefore, Gül needs 27 more votes from other parties or independent candidates. The DTP and the DSP have not yet made up their minds. It is considered highly likely that the DTP will support Gül. On the other hand, the DSP, which pursues policies similar to those of the CHP, will most likely refrain from casting their votes for Gül. Nevertheless, if no party pressure is exerted on DSP deputies, some five or six of them might vote for Gül, political analysts suggest. The AK Party and Gül expect the support of most independent deputies. They also expect support from the MHP, though this is very unlikely.

Independents favor Abdullah Gül

How independent deputies will behave in the first round is very important. In the past, independent deputies opted for supporting the candidate who is most likely to win with view to having good relations with the president. Last week Gül had secured the support of Şanlıurfa independent deputy Seyit Eyyüpoğlu. How the independent Geylani will vote will be known after his meeting with Gül today, but he is expected to back Gül's presidential bid.

Yılmaz is expected to attend the presidential vote but not cast his vote for Gül. Tunceli independent deputy Kamer Genç and Yetenç will not attend the vote. Grand Unity Party (BBP) leader Muhsin Yazıcıoğlu had previously told Gül he would attend and vote for him. Uras is not expected to support Gül even if he is in attendance.

Third round election is expected

If Gül fails to secure the support of 367 deputies in the first round, the second round will be held on Aug. 24. If he again fails to secure such support, the third round will be held Aug. 28. In the third round the support of 276 deputies is sufficient for Gül to become the 11th president. For this reason, Gül is expected to be elected in the third round. On the same day, acting President Ahmet Necdet Sezer will hand over the presidential post to Gül, and on the next day, Gül is expected to approve the government list to be submitted by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Erdoğan had submitted his list to Sezer last week, but Sezer requested that he submit it instead to his successor.

Today's zaman

Last Mod: 20 Ağustos 2007, 13:04
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