The opposition National Movement party (MHP) has fielded a candidate, Sabahattin Cakmakoglu, as has the Democratic Left Party (DSP), Tayfun Icli.

And the Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP) has signalled it will not vote for Gul.

The MHP has, however, made Gul's election more likely, just by agreeing to take part.

Boycott

The first vote in April was derailed by a court ruling that two-thirds of parliament had to be present - impossible amid an opposition boycott.

The secularist army, which undermined the April vote with a sternly worded anti-government statement, has signalled it has said all it plans to say.

Special report

A series of reports on Turkey's political turmoil

As recently as 1997 the army ousted a government in which Gul served over its perceived Islamism.

Turkey's financial markets, which had been troubled by the dispute that derailed Gul's first election bid, were this time focused on volatility in global markets with the election regarded as a foregone conclusion.

Gul has said he supports secularism but opposition from secularists remains fierce, in part because his wife wears a headscarf. Some critics fear he wants to break down the division between state and religion.

The opposition Republican People's party (CHP) has said it will boycott Gul's presidential receptions and will again be absent for the vote.

'Independent'

A ruling party-allied presidency will make the next government's job easier, as it will no longer have to get laws and appointments past Ahmet Necdet Sezer, Turkey's president, who frequently vetoed their legislation, such as a wide-ranging welfare reform.

One of the new president's first tasks will be to approve the new cabinet of Tayyip Erdogan, the prime minister, as incumbent Sezer, a secularist, declined to review the list last week.

Gul, the architect of Turkey's EU bid, spent last week seeking support from civil society groups.

He has lived in Saudi Arabia and Britain and has good relations with foreign leaders, has said he will be an impartial president and try to represent all Turks.

He will quit the AK Party, where he has been number two, but commentators say he will need to prove his independence.