Facing stiff opposition to his choice for president, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday advocated a radical overhaul of the presidential election system, and said early general elections could be held as soon as June 24.
Erdogan made the announcement after Turkey's highest court sided with the pro-secular opposition and annulled the first round of voting for president. There was only one candidate - Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul of the Islamic-rooted governing party. The opposition had boycotted the vote, denying the government a two-thirds quorum that the Constitutional Court said was necessary for it to be legitimate.
Erdogan said he would respect the court's decision, but said that if the parliamentary deadlock continued, he would move to change the Constitution so that the president would be elected directly by the people. Under Turkey's current system, Parliament elects the president.
"If the Parliament fails to elect the president, then we will take the issue to the nation and pave the way for the election of the president by popular vote," Erdogan said.