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    Post Official Pakistan election results thread


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    Returns are still incomplete and unofficial, but supporters of the pro-Pervez Musharraf PML-Q are really taking it on the chin.

    The two main opposition parties, the PPP of the late Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, and the PML-N of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, will hold about 210 of the 268 seats being contested in the National Assembly.
    Elections in four other constituencies have been postponed or "terminated".

    This is from the New York Times.

    February 19, 2008

    Pakistanis Deal Severe Defeat to Musharraf in Election

    By CARLOTTA GALL AND JANE PERLEZ


    ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Pakistanis dealt a crushing defeat to President Pervez Musharraf in parliamentary elections Monday, in what government and opposition politicians said was a firm rejection of his policies since 2001 and those of his close ally, the United States.

    Almost all the leading figures in the Pakistan Muslim League-Q, the party that has governed for the last five years under Mr. Musharraf, lost their seats, including the leader of the party, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussein, the former speaker of parliament, Chaudhry Amir Hussein, and six ministers.

    Though official results would not be announced until Tuesday, early returns indicated that the vote would usher in a prime minister from one of the opposition parties, and opened the prospect of a parliament that would move to undo many of Mr. Musharraf’s policies and that may even try to remove him.

    The early edge went to the opposition Pakistan Peoples Party, which seemed to benefit from a strong wave of sympathy in reaction to the assassination of its leader, Benazir Bhutto, eight weeks ago, and may be in a position to form the next government.

    The results were interpreted here as a repudiation of Mr. Musharraf as well as the Bush administration, which has staunchly backed Mr. Musharraf for eight years as its best bet in the campaign against the Islamic militants in Pakistan. American officials will have little choice now but to seek alternative allies from among the new political forces emerging from the vote.

    Politicians and party workers from Mr. Musharraf’s party said the vote was a protest against government policies and the rise in terrorism here, in particular against Mr. Musharraf’s heavy handed way of dealing with militancy and his use of the army against tribesmen in the border areas and against militants in a siege at the Red Mosque here in the capital last summer that left more than 100 dead.

    Others said Mr. Musharraf’s dismissal last year of the Supreme Court chief justice, Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry, who remains under house arrest, was deeply unpopular with the voters.

    Mr. Musharraf, who stepped down as army chief last November after being re-elected to another five-year term, has seen his standing plummet as the country has faced a determined insurgency by the Taliban and Al Qaeda, and a deteriorating economy.

    By association, his party suffered badly. The two main opposition parties — the Pakistan Peoples Party and the Pakistan Muslim League-N of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif — surged into the gap.

    By early Monday night, crowds of Sharif supporters had already begun celebrating as they paraded through the streets of Rawalpindi, the garrison town just outside the capital, Islamabad. Riding on motorbikes and clinging onto the back of minivans, they played music and waved green flags of Mr. Sharif’s party decorated with the party symbol, a tiger.

    “The tiger has come!” shouted one man on a motorbike making a victory sign. “Long live Nawaz!”

    From unofficial results the private news channel, Aaj Television, forecast that the Pakistan Peoples Party would win 110 seats in the 272-seat national assembly, with Mr. Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-N taking 100 seats.

    Mr. Musharraf’s party, the Pakistan Muslim League-Q, was crushed, holding on to just 20 to 30 seats. Early results released by the state news agency, the Associated Press of Pakistan, also showed the Pakistan Peoples Party to be leading in the number of seats in the national assembly.

    The Election Commission of Pakistan declared the elections free and fair and said the polling passed relatively peacefully, despite some irregularities and scattered violence. Ten people were killed and 70 injured in violence around the country, including one candidate who was shot in Lahore on the night before the vote, Pakistani news channels reported.

    Fearful of violence and deterred by confusion at polling stations, voters did not turn out in large numbers. Yet fears from opposition parties that the government would attempt to rig the elections did not materialize, as the early losses showed.

    Official results were not expected until Tuesday morning, but all the parties were already coming to terms with the anti-Musharraf trend in the voting.

    Nosheen Saeed, information secretary of the women’s wing of Mr. Musharraf’s party, conceded the early losses. “Some big guns are going to lose,” she said.

    At the headquarters of Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, the minister of railways and a close friend of the president, his supporters sat gloomily in chairs under an awning, listening to the cheers of their opponents. “Q is finished,” said Tahir Khan, 21, one of the party workers, referring to the pro-Musharraf party.

    The party workers said Mr. Ahmed, who was among the ministers who lost their seats, was popular but had suffered from the overwhelming protest vote against Mr. Musharraf and his governing faction.

    The results opened a host of new challenges for the Bush administration, which has been criticized in Congress and by Pakistan analysts for relying too heavily on Mr. Musharraf. Even as Mr. Musharraf’s standing plummeted and the insurgency gained strength, senior Bush administration officials praised Mr. Musharraf as a valued partner in the effort against terrorism.

    With Mr. Musharraf as both president and head of the Pakistani military — a post he relinquished last November — the administration poured about $1 billion a year in military assistance into Pakistan after 9/11.

    After Mr. Musharraf stepped down from the army, the Bush administration still gave him unequivocal support. Last month, Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia, Richard Boucher, told Congress he considered the Pakistani leader as indispensable to American interests.

    Such fidelity to Mr. Musharraf often raised the hackles of Pakistanis, and the newspapers here were filled with editorials that expressed despair about Washington’s close relationship with the unpopular leader.

    Many educated Pakistanis said they were irritated that the Bush administration chose to ignore Mr. Musharraf’s dismissal in November of the Supreme Court chief justice.

    The big swing against the Pakistan Muslim League-Q party that supported Mr. Musharraf appeared to bear out the position of the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations committee, Sen. Joseph Biden, Jr, who has been a critic of the administration’s Pakistan policy.

    On his arrival Sunday to observe the elections, Mr. Biden said: “I don’t buy into the argument that Musharraf is the only one. We have to have more than just a Musharraf policy.”

    As a starting point for a new policy, Mr. Biden said that the United States needed to show Pakistanis that Washington was interested in more than the campaign on terror. “We have to give the vast majority of Pakistani people some reason to believe we are allies,” Mr. Biden said. To that end, he would propose that economic development aid be tripled to $1.5 billion annually.

    But Washington could take some comfort in the losses of the Islamic religious parties in the North West Frontier Province that abut the tribal areas where the Taliban and Al Qaeda have carved out bases.

    The greatest blow for Mr. Musharraf came in the strong wave of support in Punjab province, the country’s most populous, for Mr. Sharif, who has been a bitter rival since his government was overthrown by Mr. Musharraf in a military coup in 1999 and he was arrested and sent into exile.

    He returned in November last year and although banned from running for parliament himself, has campaigned for his party on an openly anti-Musharraf agenda, calling for the president’s resignation and for the reinstatement of the Chief Justice Chaudhry and other Supreme Court judges.

    Underscoring the reversal for Mr. Musharraf was the downfall of the powerful Chaudhry family of Punjab province who had underwritten his political career by creating the political party, the Pakistan Muslim League-Q, for him.

    “They myth is broken, it was a huge wave against Musharraf,” said Athar Minallah, a lawyer involved in the anti-Musharraf lawyers’ movement. “Right across the board his party was defeated, in the urban and rural areas. The margins are so big they couldn’t have rigged it even if they tried.”

    A few hours after the size of the defeat became clear, the government eased up on the restrictions against, Aitzaz Ahsan, leader of the lawyers’ movement that has opposed the president. .

    Mr. Ahsan who has been under house arrest since last November when Mr. Musharraf imposed emergency rule for six weeks, found the phones in house were suddenly reconnected.

    “Musharraf should be preparing a C-130 for Turkey,” Mr. Ahsan said, referring to Mr. Musharraf’s statements that he might retire to Turkey where he spent his childhood.

    Two politicians close to Mr. Musharraf have said in the last week that the president was well aware of the drift in the country against him and they suggested that he would not remain in office if the new government was in direct opposition to him. “He does not have the fire in the belly for another fight,” said one member of his party. He added that Mr. Musharraf was building a house for himself in Islamabad and would be ready soon to move.

    Jane Perlez reported from Lahore, Pakistan, and Carlotta Gall from Islamabad. David Rohde contributed reporting from Peshawar, and Salman Masood from Rawalpindi.
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Official Pakistan election results thread

    This is just terrible!

    I support the PML-Q, and would have voted for them if I could. I hope the new government tries to work with Musharraf instead of trying to impeach him over the chief justice firing. The economy, which has been soaring since 2002 at over 7% annual growth, recently overheated and rampant inflation is the main cause of the PML-Q's defeat.

    Here is a map showing results so far: http://www.dawn.com/events/election0...s/pakistan.gif

    I like what Biden said though, the US needs to extend suppor to Pakistan as a whole instead of just Mushy.
    .

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    Exclamation Re: Official Pakistan election results thread

    The results are almost official. Breakdown of National Assembly seats.


    PPP........................87
    PML-N...............66
    PML-Q...............38
    MQM.................19
    ANP...................10
    MMA..................3
    BNP-A................1

    Independents and others............34
    .

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    Illinois Supreme Court Member optid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Official Pakistan election results thread

    Quote Originally Posted by brightside. View Post
    The results are almost official. Breakdown of National Assembly seats.


    PPP........................87
    PML-N...............66
    PML-Q...............38
    MQM.................19
    ANP...................10
    MMA..................3
    BNP-A................1

    Independents and others............34
    The largest party, the PPP, is still 50 seats short of a majority.
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    Illinois Supreme Court Member optid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Official Pakistan election results thread

    The leaders of the PPP and PML-N have met and agreed to form a coalition.

    From the BBC.

    Bhutto party meeting to pick PM

    The party of Pakistan's late former prime minister, Benazir Bhutto, is meeting to pick the next prime minister after its victory in Monday's polls.


    The Pakistan People's Party (PPP) earlier agreed to co-operate in government with the opposition PML-N, led by another former PM, Nawaz Sharif.

    Asif Ali Zardari, the PPP leader and Ms Bhutto's widower, is not eligible to run for PM but retains great influence.

    The coalition government is seen as a threat to President Pervez Musharraf.

    The main party loyal to the president fared poorly in the parliamentary elections.

    As president, Mr Musharraf did not personally contest the polls and has brushed aside calls for him to resign.

    In a separate development, an explosion in the Swat region of Pakistan's North West Frontier Province has killed 13 people and hurt a dozen others, officials say.

    The blast targeted a vehicle carrying guests from a wedding party.

    Swat, a former tourist resort, has recently seen intense clashes between Islamist militants and government forces.

    Details unresolved

    Newly-elected MPs of the PPP are meeting Mr Zardari to discuss whom to nominate as prime minister in a future government.

    The PPP's 87 seats in the election were the highest polled by a single party, giving it about one third of the seats.

    The PML-N came second, with 66 seats.

    Details of the coalition - agreed between Mr Zardari and Mr Sharif on Thursday - have yet to be worked out.

    Mr Zardari said the two parties would "stay together" but they had lots to work out.

    "We have a lot of modalities to cover. We have a lot of ground to cover," he said. "We will be meeting off and on. In principle, we have agreed to stay together."

    According to the BBC's Chris Morris in Islamabad, a coalition between the PPP and PML-N raises the prospect of a government which will try to force President Musharraf from power.

    Though the two parties have little in common ideologically, both insist that they want to work together to re-establish full civilian democracy and the power of parliament.

    The two parties have more than half of the new parliament's seats and if they can form a grouping with a two-thirds majority, they could call for Mr Musharraf to be impeached.

    Mr Sharif has been deeply critical of the president and says he wants "to rid Pakistan of dictatorship forever".

    Mr Musharraf has said he will not resign or retire, but instead wishes to work towards stable democratic government in Pakistan.

    Mr Musharraf seized power from then-Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in a military coup in 1999 and was re-elected to the presidency in October in a parliamentary vote boycotted by the opposition as unconstitutional.

    US ally

    Mr Musharraf has been a major US ally in the "war on terror" but his popularity has waned at home amid accusations of authoritarianism and incompetence.

    Our correspondent says the prospect of a prolonged confrontation between the president and the new government will not please the US, which has urged the two sides to co-operate.

    Mr Musharraf's forces have been trying to contain a Taleban-influenced Islamist insurgency along the country's rugged frontier with Afghanistan.

    Monday's election was preceded by months of violence, including the suicide attack that killed PPP leader, Ms Bhutto, in December.

    The poll was initially scheduled for early January but was delayed after her assassination.
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