[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.