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Turkey's FM Says He Remains Candidate for President


Turkey's Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul says he remains a candidate for president - despite opposition from secularists.

Gul told reporters Friday his candidacy will has not been derailed by the political crisis his nomination by the ruling A.K. (Justice and Development) party sparked.

Gul withdrew his candidacy from consideration from parliament after he failed to gain enough support.

Thursday, Turkey's parliament approved a set of constitutional amendments that would allow the president to be elected by a popular vote, instead of by parliament.

President Ahmet Necdet Sezer must sign the amendments before they can become law.

The ruling party proposed the electoral reform package and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan called early legislative elections (July 22) after parliament failed to elect a president.

Secularists opposed Gul's candidacy and accused the Islamist-rooted A.K. Party of attempting to undermine Turkey's secular order.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.