Mamnoon Hussain chosen as Pakistan's new president

July 30, 2013 at 3:46 PM
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ISLAMABAD, July 30 (UPI) -- Pakistani lawmakers Tuesday elected Mamnoon Hussain the nation's new president by an overwhelming margin, officials said.

Hussain will assume the office when President Asif Ali Zardari's term ends Sept. 8, the BBC reported.

The Pakistani presidency is largely a symbolic post thanks to Zardari, who took power after his predecessor, Pervez Musharaff, stepped down. Zardari had legislation passed turning over most of the president's powers to the nation's prime minister.

Hussain's victory was all but assured after the main opposition party, the Pakistani People's Party, withdrew its candidate and boycotted the election in protest after Pakistan's Supreme Court moved up the election by a week, Dawn News reported.

The two contenders for the office were Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz's Hussain and Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf's Wajihuddin Ahmed.

Hussain had been projected to receive more than 400 of a possible 674 electoral college votes. The Pakistani president is elected by votes cast in the national assembly and provincial assemblies.

With Hussain's party in control of the national assembly and the heavily populated Punjab provincial assembly, he was the clear favorite, the BBC said.

About 148 votes were not expected to be cast due to a boycott by several political parties, Dawn News said.

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