অ্যাকসেসিবিলিটি লিংক

Husband of Slain Former PM Bhutto Elected President in Pakistan

  • VOA News
  • Anis Ahmed

The e widower of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, has won elections to become Pakistan's next president.


Asif Ali Zardari, leader of the Pakistan Peoples Party, (PPP) today (Saturday) won the majority of votes in Pakistan's parliament and four provincial assemblies. He soundly defeated his two opponents (,Saeeduzzaman Siddiqui and Mushahid Hussain,) winning an estimated 482 of 702 lawmaker votes.

Zardari replaces former President Pervez Musharraf, who resigned last month -- while facing impTheachment.

After the vote, lawmakers in parliament chanted "long live Bhutto" and Zardari's two daughters held a portrait of their mother. PPP officials called Zardari's win, a victory for democracy in the country.

In a brief speech, Zardari addressed critics, saying "to those who would say that the People's Party or the presidency would be controversial under our guardianship... listen to our democracy."

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice today said she looked forward to working with Zardari and that she is impressed by what she says is his emphasis on fighting terrorism.

Zardari faces a number of challenges as Pakistan's new president, including battling rising militant violence and improving the country's struggling economy.

The new president has pledged to better control the powers of the presidency and restore the Supreme Court judges purged by Mr. Musharraf. Pakistani officials say three of those judges returned to the bench Friday, after taking the oath of office.

Last week, former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif quit the coalition government and became an opposition leader due to differences with Zardari over the restoration of the judiciary. Today, Mr. Sharif said he hoped Zardari would return the presidency to its impartial role.

Mr. Sharif wanted immediate reinstatement of judges, without conditions. Zardari has said he wants the re-instatement to come with certain judicial reforms.

The new president served 11 years in prison on corruption and murder charges, but was never convicted.
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