Turkish prime minister calls for all MPs to attend presidential vote
( Cihan ) - Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called all lawmakers, especially opposition MPs, to attend Friday's critical first round of presidential vote.
"Let us not fall into the trap of those who are trying to drag Turkey back to the customs of the past, to those periods of political paralysis," Erdogan told a surprise press conference he held at the parliament at noon, just hours before the key vote.
"Attending the general assembly and voting -- be it for or against -- is a historical duty given to us by the people," Erdogan said.
Heavily criticizing Deniz Baykal, head of main opposition party, Erdogan said that Baykal had the same mentality in 1989, when Turgut Ozal was elected the 8th president of Turkey.
Main opposition the Republican People's Party (CHP) has already announced beforehand that it will appeal to the Constitutional Court if 367 MPs, two-thirds of 550-seat parliament, are not present in the general assembly before the vote.
Along with the CHP, two other center-right parties The True Path Party (DYP) and Motherland Party (ANAVATAN) on Friday decided not to attend the first round of the vote.
Candidates must get two-thirds of the 550-seat parliament in the first two rounds of the vote, which are scheduled to be held on Friday, April 27 and Wednesday, May 2, respectively.