[JURIST] Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer [official profile] Friday vetoed a constitutional amendment that would have changed the country's election procedures to allow the president to be elected by direct vote rather than selected by parliamentarians. The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) [party website, in Turkish; Wikipedia backgrounder] pushed through the amendment after opposition lawmakers, fearing that sole presidential candidate Abdullah Gul [official website] would try to implement more Islamic laws in Turkey's secularist state structure, refused to participate in the parliamentary vote. The amendment would have shortened the presidential term from seven to five years, allowed presidents to serve multiple terms, and mandated that general elections be held every four years, instead of every five years as currently stipulated.
Gul ended his parliamentary candidacy when opposition lawmakers refused to participate in a second parliamentary vote [JURIST report]. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan [Wikipedia profile] has said his government will push the amendment through parliament again. By Turkish law, the president cannot veto the same legislation twice; he must either approve it or call a referendum. The Guardian has more.