According to Reuters, "Zardari, who was jailed on corruption charges but denied any wrongdoing, is regarded as a divisive figure. But with Bilawal still too young to run for parliament and yet to complete his university studies in Britain, it is Zardari who is the de facto leader of the party as it prepares for a February 18 general election." The PPP, reported CNN, will restart its campaign this week for the elections following the end of its 40 day self-imposed mourning period. Reuters added, "The PPP is likely to gain a considerable sympathy vote in the parliamentary elections because of Bhutto's murder."
However, will this new development and Zardari's forefront role in the party impact voters' perceptions of the PPP? According to a profile released by BBC News, Zardari has been seen as a political liability for his late wife's party. Widely known in Pakistan as "Mr. 10%," his corruption charges and alleged link to the murder of his brother-in-law Murtaza Bhutto in 1996, have seemingly haunted his reputation. However, even when he first married Benazir, Zardari apparently knew he was the "designated fall guy," a title he reportedly accepted, according to the BBC. Will this title come to haunt the party now before election time? Have perceptions of Zardari changed since Benazir's assassination?