Gul’s current term is for seven years and it expires in August 2014, the Ankara-based court’s 17 judges decided unanimously today, according to its press office.
The Constitutional Court’s ruling raises the prospect that Gul may compete with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan for the post of president in two years time. Erdogan has expressed preference for changing the Constitution to create a presidential form of government. Erdogan is favored to replace Gul, Reha Denemec, deputy chief of his governing party, said in an interview in March. Gul hasn’t said whether he’ll run again.
“Erdogan is the leading candidate and I don’t think Gul will risk a confrontation with his party for personal ambitions,” Wolfango Piccoli, a political risk analyst at Eurasia Group in London, said in a telephone interview today. “Anyway, I don’t think Gul can be a real competitor against Erdogan given Erdogan’s popularity in the party and with the electorate.”
The court said it canceled a clause of Temporary Article One of Presidential Election Law 6271 passed by parliament in January barring Gul from running for a second term in nationwide elections.
Gul, a political ally of Erdogan who served as premier in 2002, was elected by parliament in 2007 after being nominated by Erdogan.
Erdogan won a third term as prime minister last year with almost 50 percent of the vote. His term is due to expire in three years.