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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

PPL and PML-N Claim Victories at Polls in Pakistan

George Wenschhof

Although the votes are still being counted, it is clear the ruling party, Pakistan Muslim League - Q which supports President Pervez Musharraf suffered defeat in the election. The unanswered question is what affect this will have on Musharraf staying in power and what type of coalition government will be formed. A Reuters update on the story is as follows:

The national assembly in Pakistan had 137 positions out of a total of 342 up for election yesterday. The Pakistan Parliament also has a 100 member Senate. So who has a majority after the vote is yet to be determined. It is most likely a coalition will develop as the ruling party.

The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPL) is claiming a lead in the national assembey but not a majority. Benazir Bhutto was the leader of this party until her assasination and now the leadership is shared by her husband Zardari and their son Bilawal.

Nawaz Sharif who is the leader of the Pakistan Muslim League - N was replaced by Musharraf in a bloodless coup 8 years ago as leader of Pakistan. Although he was unable to run for office due to a criminal record, Sharif has been the most vocal is calling for Musharraf to step down. His Party won positions in the vote but evidently not as many as the PPL.

So much is left to be determined as to the composition of the government in Pakistan. The Bush administration has been a staunch ally of President Musharraf and the U.S. has been sending Billions to Pakistan to aid in the war on terror.

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