Alexa
  • Directory of Taiwan

Pakistan ruling party tells Musharraf it can elect him as president for another term

Pakistan ruling party tells Musharraf it can elect him as president for another term

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan _ Pakistan's ruling party assured President Gen. Pervez Musharraf that he would be elected to a new five-year term in a vote likely to take place in the first week of October, party officials said.
Also Saturday, opposition leader Benazir Bhutto urged Musharraf to wait until after parliamentary elections that must be held by mid-January. She said he should resign as army chief first in respect of the Constitution.
The president is chosen by an electoral college of all national and provincial lawmakers. Musharraf, whose term expires Nov. 15, wants to seek re-election from the current assemblies where he enjoys a majority, since the next parliament may be less supportive.
The U.S.-allied general's popularity has slipped in recent months after he tried to sack the country's top judge and following a surge in attacks by Islamic militants suggesting his policies against extremism have failed.
With an announcement of the date for the presidential election from the Election Commission imminent, top leaders from the ruling party met with Musharraf on Saturday to tell him they had enough votes to elect him, an official at the president's office said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.
The meeting came a day after Bhutto's party announced she would return to Pakistan on Oct. 18 after eight years of exile to help restore democracy.
In an interview broadcast Saturday, she urged Musharraf to quit his army position before contesting the election.
"It is our preference that whosoever wishes to contest for the presidency, whether Gen. Musharraf or somebody else, should do it from the next assembly, and it should be a civilian who contests the ... presidential election from the next assembly," she told Pakistan's Dawn News TV channel.
Musharraf, who took power in a 1999 coup that ousted elected Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, faces legal challenges over his re-election bid, largely over his retention of the post of army chief, the main source of his power.
"We want to take the country back slowly but surely to the Constitution that existed before the military coup," Bhutto said.
The ruling party dismissed Bhutto's suggestions.
"We have finalized our strategy to elect the president for another five-year term ... we have enough votes to easily elect President Musharraf for another term," said Azeem Chaudhry, a senior official with the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Q party.
Earlier, two ruling party officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, said the vote would take place in the first week of October.
While the ruling coalition says it has enough support in Parliament to get the simple majority to re-elect Musharraf, the support of Bhutto's party would help achieve the two-thirds majority needed for constitutional amendments that could head off legal challenges to his taking office for another five years.
The government says that on her return, Bhutto will not suffer the fate of Sharif, who was swiftly expelled when he came back from exile Monday. But officials said she would have to face pending corruption charges.


Updated : 2021-10-27 17:04 GMT+08:00