Turkey gov't seeks popular vote to elect president

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 pro-secular lawmakers boycotted the vote for a second time amid fears he could allow religion to have increasing influence on politics in the country. 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.