The death of Benazir Bhutto in December, tensions within the country and concerns over President Pervez Musharraf’s leadership (and his regime’s relationship with the U.S. government) registered in a loud and clear message from Pakistanis at the polling booths Monday: Musharraf is standing on shaky ground.
The New York Times:
Pakistanis dealt a crushing defeat to President Pervez Musharraf in parliamentary elections on 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, the former speaker of Parliament and six ministers.
Official results are expected Tuesday, but 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, on Dec. 27, and may be in a position to form the next government.