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Zardari wins presidency

Article published on the 2008-09-06 Latest update 2008-09-08 12:23 TU

Asif Ali Zardari.(Photo : AFP)

Asif Ali Zardari.
(Photo : AFP)

The widower of Benazir Bhutto and co-chairman of the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) Asif Ali Zardari, is Pakistan's new president.  Meanwhile in the north-west city of Peshawar of Pakistan, at least sixteen people have been killed and more than 80 wounded in a car bomb explosion. 

Zardari will succeed Pervez Musharraf, who resigned on 18 August under threat of impeachment. 

"It is a victory for democracy. This man suffered jail for more than 11 years for the sake of democracy and today he is elected as the president of the country and it is a sign of the strengthening of democracy," said Sherry Rehman, the country's information minister and a close aide of Bhutto.

Zardari beat his two rivals, Saeed Zaman Siddiqui, a former supreme court chief justice backed by former premier Nawaz Sharif and Mushahid Hussain, a close aide of Musharraf.

In the PPP stronghold of Sindh Province, Zadari swept the board while the two other candidates did not obtain a single vote.  But in Sharif's bastion, Punjab Province, the vote was divided.

Correspondent Omar Waraich told RFI there could be a lot of political instability over the coming weeks.

"The two parties [PPP and Sharif's NML-N] traditionally are bitterly hostile to each other. Four of their governments collapsed, two each, during a period of eleven years during the nineties and late eighties...there's also a huge amount of speculation that Mr Sharif's provincial government in Punjab may be challenged," he said.


Zardari is due to be sworn into office in the coming days, possibly Monday. His accession to the most powerful job in the country opens a new era of civilian rule, after former General Musharraf's nine-year military regime.