Monday, February 18, 2008

Polls Close, Counting Begins

According to news sources, President Pervez Musharraf's "allies" faced a "crushing defeat" in today's parliamentary elections. According to CNN, "In the first three counts to finish, the provincial assembly seat in Balochistan went to the Pakistan People's Party -- the party of assassinated former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto -- while two independent candidates won seats from the northern tribal areas, said Chief Election Commissioner Qazi Muhammad Farooq." The NY Times reported, "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, the former speaker of Parliament and six ministers." The AFP similarly reported, "High-profile victims who lost their seats included party president Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and almost all of Musharraf's former cabinet, including close presidential ally Sheikh Rashid." Although official results are expected 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 Times assessed, "The results were interpreted here as a repudiation of Mr. Musharraf as well as the Bush administration...American officials will have little choice now but to seek alternative allies from among the new political forces emerging from the vote."

Pakistan's Daily Times reported that the PPP (technically the PPPP for electoral purposes) is leading in the National Assembly and in Sindh province, the PML-N is leading in Punjab, and the ANP (the Awami National Party) is reportedly leading in NWFP, with the PPPP a close second. According to Pakistan First, a site that is providing up-to-date election results (via Parliament Watch), the PPP won 34 seats in the National Assembly, the PML-Q won 21, and the PML-N won 52 seats. The NY Times cited unofficial results from Aaj television that forecast that the Pakistan Peoples Party would win 110 seats in the 272-seat National Assembly, with Mr. Sharif’s party taking 100 seats.

According to the Washington Post today, "The mood across Pakistan was one of apprehension as voters headed to the polls Monday morning. Local media here reported dozens of bomb attacks and violent clashes across the country." CNN, however, provided a different account, reporting that "relatively little violence" occurred today and there were "no overt signs of tampering." [Image from NY Times]

1 comment:

Maria said...

The fat lady has sung, goodBYE PML-Q!!!!