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Turkey presidential vote challenged in constitutional court

[JURIST] A parliamentary vote on the only candidate running to be the next president of Turkey ran into a legal challenge Friday after Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul [official website; Wikipedia profile; JURIST news archive], a member of the ruling Islamist-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP) [party website, in Turkish; Wikipedia backgrounder] fell 10 votes short of a requisite majority in the first round of balloting. Turkey's constitution [text] authorizes three rounds of presidential voting: a first round where a two-thirds majority of 367 out of 550 seats is needed; a second round, which is scheduled for next Wednesday, where the same two-thirds majority is needed; and a third round, scheduled for May 9, where a simple majority of 276 seats is needed. The opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) [Wikipedia backgrounder] boycotted Friday's vote, as they feel Turkey's president should be entirely secular, and immediately challenged [AFP report] the results in Turkey's Constitutional Court [official website], arguing that the constitutional provision required a quorum for Friday's vote to be official and lead to a second round. The AKP will argue that the usual quorum of 184 legislators was enough to begin the session.

Meanwhile the secularist Turkish army [official website] released a statement Friday threatening to use force if Gul is elected [Times report]. The EU, human rights groups, and the US [Reuters reports] condemned the coup threat and called on Turkey to solve the dispute over Gul's candidacy by constitutional means. The Turkish Daily News has local coverage.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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