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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Gul Drops Presidential Candidacy

ANKARA, Turkey -- Turkey's foreign minister said Sunday that he was withdrawing from the presidential race after the parliament failed again to reach a quorum in voting that pitted secularists against his religious-oriented party, the state-run Anatolia news agency reported.

Abdullah Gul, a close ally of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, was the sole candidate in the country's presidential elections. The parliament was short of the 367 legislators needed to press ahead with the voting, after two separate roll calls, parliament Speaker Bulent Arinc said.

Erdogan's government has already called general elections as a way out of the political impasse and plans to amend the constitution so that the president is elected by popular vote.

Sunday's vote was a repeat of a first-round of elections, which the Constitutional Court, siding with the secular opposition, canceled last week on grounds that there was no quorum. Secular legislators -- who boycotted the first round of voting -- kept away from the vote again Sunday.

The government went ahead with Sunday's voting despite the very slim chance of a Gul victory.

"I am withdrawing my candidacy," Gul said, Anatolia reported. "My candidacy is out of the question at this point."