( Fars News Agency)- General Pervez Musharraf swept the presidential election in Pakistan on Saturday as unofficial results show. However, the story may take an unexpected turn: the Supreme Court may still disqualify the military leader.
The election by federal and provincial lawmakers was a one-sided affair. Opposition parties abstained or boycotted to protest Musharraf's running for a new five-year term while still army chief.
In total, Musharraf won 671 votes, his main rival, retired judge Wajihuddin Ahmad, received eight, and six ballots were invalid, election officials said.
The Supreme Court ruled Friday that the official results can only be declared after it rules on complaints lodged by Musharraf's opponents that his candidacy is unconstitutional.
Ruling-party lawmakers were claiming victory even before counting began. Only a handful of the government's opponents were among the 685 of the 1,170 eligible lawmakers who turned out to vote.
Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Sher Afgan Khan Niazi said Musharraf had been "genuinely elected by members of parliament."
"Everything about the election was constitutional, legal, moral and legitimate," Niazi told The Associated Press.
But the opposition said the ballot was invalid.
"We will not accept him as president. He flouted the constitution, and he is a person who has hardly any respect for the rule of law," said Sadique ul-Farooq , a leader of the party of exiled former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif .
Hearings on the petitions challenging Musharraf's candidacy will resume on Oct. 17, meaning if Musharraf wins he will have to wait at least 11 days before knowing whether he can take office.
His current presidential term expires Nov. 15.
The U.S. State Department declined to comment on the unofficial results. "We're waiting on the Pakistani Supreme Court," spokeswoman Nicole Thompson said.
However, Gordon Johndroe , a spokesman for the White House's National Security Council, was more effusive.
" Pakistan is an important partner and ally to the United States and we congratulate them for today's election," Johndroe said. Washington looked forward to "working with all of Pakistan's leaders" on issues including counterterrorism, he said.