Pakistani general election likely to be postponed

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Monday, December 31, 2007

The electoral commission of Pakistan held a meeting today to decide whether the general election of the country will go ahead as planned next week on Saturday January 8, 2008. A firm decision is expected on Tuesday; however, according to CNN, Election Commission Secretary Kanwar Dilashad told The Associated Press that a recommendation has been made to the Government to delay the election. It has not been stated how long this electoral delay will be, as no new projected date for the election has yet been proposed.

Violent civil unrest has occurred across Pakistan following the assassination of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader Benazir Bhutto; although this is now drawing to a close, its impact threatens to jeopardize the general election, combined with the aftermath of the state of emergency only recently lifted by President Pervez Musharraf.

Prior to her death Bhutto had accused Musharraf of attempting to rig the balloting and had called for a boycott. However, leaders of the PPP and other parties sympathizing with Bhutto's view have now indicated that they will not boycott the election when it is held. It was announced yesterday that nominal control of the PPP will be held by Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Mrs. Bhutto's son; however his father, Asif Ali Zardari, has declared an intention to handle party affairs on behalf of his son, on the grounds that he is still "of a tender age" at 19 years old. Mr. Zardari has stated that the PPP will contest the poll.


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