Turkish court set to decide length of Gul's term

By REUTERS
June 7, 2012 16:12

 
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ISTANBUL - Turkey's Constitutional Court said on Thursday it would hold a hearing next week on whether President Abdullah Gul's term ends in August or in 2014 - a case that may affect any ambitions Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has to move to the presidency.

Erdogan, 58, is already the most powerful politician in Turkey, thanks to a blend of economic liberalism and religious, social conservatism that has landed his Justice and Development Party (AKP) three consecutive election victories since 2002.

He favors switching to a presidential form of government similar to France and it is an open secret that he covets the post himself, since under party rules he cannot seek another term as premier when the next general election falls due in 2015.

At present, Turkey's parliamentary system vests more power in the prime minister while the president is largely a figurehead role, although choosing Constitutional Court judges is among his prerogatives.

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