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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Turkey Eyes Popular Presidential Vote

ANKARA, Turkey -- Turkey's Islamic-rooted government was pushing Monday for a constitutional amendment to allow the president to be elected by popular vote, rather than by parliament.

The governing party's presidential candidate, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, dropped his bid for the post Sunday, after secular lawmakers boycotted the vote for a second time.

His withdrawal was a new defeat for the government, which had to call for early general elections in a standoff that has exposed a deepening divide between the government and its opponents.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan planned to overcome the deadlock in the parliament with a constitutional amendment that would require a popular vote for president. Erdogan's party appealed to the parliament to hold the first round of voting Monday.

"Parliament is deadlocked. The correct thing now is for the people to elect" the new president themselves, Gul said as he withdrew his candidacy.