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Bhutto widower proposed for Pakistan president

Bhutto widower proposed for Pakistan president

Pakistan's main ruling party on Friday proposed the widower of assassinated former premier Benazir Bhutto as the country's next president.
The move makes Asif Ali Zardari the clear front-runner to fill the leadership vacuum created by the resignation of U.S. ally Pervez Musharraf on Monday.
But it could also hasten the collapse of a ruling coalition that has struggled to tackle the growing strength of Taliban militants.
Pakistan's election commission announced Friday that federal and provincial lawmakers will elect Musharraf's successor in simultaneous votes on Sept. 6. Candidates must file their nomination papers on Aug. 26.
Sherry Rehman, a spokeswoman for the Pakistan People's Party, said the backing for Zardari at a meeting of its top decision-making body on Friday was unanimous.
"If the major political party believes that he is the most talented person, then he is the most eligible person for this post," said Nabeel Gabol, another party leader.
"Now it depends on him whether he himself becomes (president) or nominates someone else," Gabol said.
Rehman said Zardari told the gathering that he would announce whether to accept the nomination within 24 hours.
Zardari has played down his ambitions in public. However, he has done nothing to prevent a growing band of supporters from touting his name for as post. Analysts say he looks assured of victory if he runs.
Zardari leads a coalition that swept Musharraf's supporters aside in February parliamentary elections.
The alliance vowed to strip the presidency of the powers accumulated by Musharraf, including the right to dissolve parliament and appoint the chiefs of Pakistan's powerful military.
But it quickly became mired in wrangling over other issues, principally how to restore judges purged from the Supreme Court when Musharraf imposed a burst of emergency rule last year.
Nawaz Sharif, who leads the second-largest party in the coalition, has threatened to go into opposition if the judges are not restored quickly.
However, Zardari appears to be lining up alternative allies, some of whom have already called for him to be president, in order to keep control of the government.


Updated : 2020-11-30 06:24 GMT+08:00