Pakistan's political tectonic plates shift

Jan. 15, 2012 at 5:48 PM
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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Jan. 15 (UPI) -- Pakistan's political forces were at loggerheads Sunday, the day before a scheduled confidence vote in Parliament.

McClatchy Newspapers reported members of President Asif Zardari's ruling coalition say his administration may be willing to call for general elections as early as October. However, opposition leader Nawaz Sharif wants the elections held as early as June, while the country's military is seen as pressuring Zardari out of office through court action, McClatchy said.

Zardari's Pakistan Peoples Party is trying to hold off on announcing the elections until after a new Senate is elected in March, which the PPP is expected to win.

"There is no other option for the government to come out of the current crisis without elections," a PPP leadership adviser who requested anonymity told McClatchy. "It is in the interests of the PPP to reach an agreement with Nawaz [Sharif]."

However, a senior official with the ruling coalition said so far there is only internal agreement on holding a general election in October, just months before the Parliament would wind up its five-year term anyway.

"It is 100 percent certain that there will be elections in 2012. The only solution is elections. It doesn't matter whether they are held in June or October," another unidentified coalition member told McClatchy.

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