24/08/2007 Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, the frontrunner to become Turkey's next president, failed to be elected in the second round of voting in parliament on Friday, a parliament official said.
It was expected that Gul will only win outright in a third round next week. In a third round, a candidate needs only a simple majority to win - leading analysts to predict confidently that Gul will be declared president next Tuesday, 28 August. Gul, the nominee of the ruling Justice and Development Party, garnered 337 votes from the 550-seat house, 30 short of the two-thirds majority of 367 needed in the second round.The other two candidates, Sabahattin Cakmakoglu from the right-wing Nationalist Action Party and Tayfun Icli from the centre-left Democratic Left Party, received 71 and 14 votes respectively. Gul's candidacy has been highly controversial, sparking a political crisis that led to early elections. But since his AK Party won those polls convincingly, correspondents say it has the authority to push its man through. The country's military and secular establishments have voiced their opposition to Gul. The Foreign Minister has vowed to remain loyal to the country's secular constitution if he is elected. The president is elected by parliament, where the AK Party has 340 of the 550 seats. In the first round of voting on Monday, Gul secured 341 votes - falling short of the two-thirds majority needed to win outright.