The Turkish Parliament cast their votes in the first round of balloting for a new President on Tuesday (25 March).
SV PULL BACK to Mr Suleyman Demirel, Turkish Prime Minister
SV Parliamentarians placing ballots in basket
SV Speaker of House as parliamentarians continue to vote (4 shots)
SV National Action Party Leader, Mr Turkes voting
SV Mr Demirel shakes hands with official
GV Voting hall
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Background: The Turkish Parliament cast their votes in the first round of balloting for a new President on Tuesday (25 March). President Fahri Koruturk's seven year term expires on April 6 and a joint session of the Senate and Lower House are to choose his successor. But Turkey's polarised party politics could mean several ballots before a new leader is elected.
SYNOPSIS: Prime Minister Suleyman Demirel and his cabinet wield the real power but the President traditionally plays an influential role, especially in times of crisis. Turkey's current state of near-bankruptcy and political violence is the worst since the early days of the Republic, and the next President's leadership role could be crucial.
The Speaker of the Lower House Cahit Karakas is one of the most likely candidates for the Presidency but he postponed voting which should have begun on Monday (24 March) because no candidates had actually been proposed. Voting started on Tuesday (25 March) when an independent member of Parliament offered himself as President as a goodwill gesture. After the first ballot the independent, Mr Nurettin Vilmaz, withdrew as the procedure could be repeated without any officially proposed candidate.
The first two ballots require two-thirds majority for a candidate to be elected but the barest majority will be accepted in subsequent rounds.
Parliamentarians expect a lengthy election procedure. In 1973 Parliament spent twenty-five days balloting on various candidates before President Koruturk was proposed and elected.