Gul Withdraws Candidacy

ANKARA (Combined Sources)–Turkish foreign minister Abdullah Gul withdrew his candidacy for Turkey’s presidency Sunday, bowing to pressure from the military and demonstrators who accuse his ruling party of subverting the nation’s secular order, news agencies reported. Gul’s move is expected to ease a crisis in Turkey after his ruling AK party failed to gain a quorum in parliament to elect him. "After this … my candidacy is out of the question," Gul told reporters after the roll-call in parliament. "I don’t feel resentment." Gul, leading architect of Turkey’s EU membership bid, has not yet formally withdrawn, but the next president is now expected to be elected only after early general polls on July 22. He was the only candidate. The AK Party is expected to win the next general election, according to opinion polls, but it is too early to say whether they will be able to form a single party government again. The AK Party, which has Islamist origins but denies an Islamist agenda now, failed to muster the 367 deputies required to vote because most opposition parties boycotted the session. Last week, the Constitutional Court annulled a first round ballot and ruled that two-thirds of the chamber had to be present to validate a presidential vote.-0-/39/

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