Victorious Pakistan opposition parties ponder coalition government

( dpa ) - The party of assassinated Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was considering various options Wednesday to form a coalition government following its win in crucial parliamentary elections.

"We are in contact with other like-minded political parties to discuss the formation of a government of national consensus," said Farhatullah Babar, spokesman for Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party (PPP).

In a development that undoubtedly shocked embattled President Pervez Musharraf, a key US ally in fighting the Taliban and al-Qaeda, the PPP and other opposition parties cruised to victory in Monday's polls, leaving Musharraf's political survival very much in doubt.

Unofficial results from 258 of 272 contested National Assembly seats showed Bhutto's party won 87 seats, followed by fellow opposition leader Nawaz Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) with 66 seats.

Leaders from both parties immediately demanded Musharraf resign and have indicated that they might join hands to form a future government despite being fierce rivals in the past.

Bhutto's widower Asif Ali Zardari, who took over as PPP chairman after her slaying in a gun and suicide bomb attack on December 27, was expected to meet Sharif on Thursday in Islamabad. In return for Sharif's support in forming a national government, the PPP could ensure he forms a government in Punjab province, the country's most important region, where PML-N emerged as the biggest winner.

The possibility of a PPP-PML-N government could be fatal for Musharraf, whose powers are already diminished since he was compelled to resign as army chief, leaving his presidency as little more than ceremonial. Musharraf overthrew Sharif in a bloodless coup in 1999 and the two men are bitter political enemies.

But Musharraf, a former army commando, has himself already begun political maneuvering to ensure his survival. His top aides met Zardari on Tuesday to persuade him to instead form a coalition government with Musharraf's political backer, the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q), and its ally the Muttahida Qaumi Movement.

The PML-Q suffered a humiliating loss in Monday's poll, which were seen as a referendum on Musharraf's rule, winning only 38 seats.

Zardari was non-committal to a coalition, according to DawnNews TV, citing a government official privy to the meeting.

Babar said he had no knowledge of the meeting, while presidential spokesman Rashid Qureshi refused to confirm the report.

"I can neither confirm nor deny it," he said, adding that such a meeting was possible in the future.

Zardari told reporters after meeting with the PPP's central committee on Tuesday evening that he would not form a government with any party that was aligned with the Musharraf regime.

A potential coalition with Sharif is also problematic as both have conflicting views on certain issues, and the PML-N leader was bitter enemies with Bhutto during the 1990s.

Sharif is demanding that former Supreme Court chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry and around 60 other judges who were sacked on November 3,2007 when Musharraf imposed emergency rule, after which they could rule on the legality of the president's controversial re-election the previous month.

Such a move would bring the new government in direct confrontation with Musharraf at a time when Pakistan is suffering from rising food and fuel prices and growing Islamic militancy along its border with Pakistan.

On the other hand, analyst say, the PPP wants political stability first and can then move slowly to sideline Musharraf.

Sharif, an aggressive political player, is also maneuvering, inviting winning PML-Q winning candidates to join his PML-N, saying his was the parent party.

The PML-Q faction broke away from Sharif after the 1999 coup. Analysts have said the party was artificially constructed to provide a political face to Musharraf's military regime.

The United States on Tuesday welcomed the election results and urged the victorious parties to work closely to fight terrorism.

Turkmenistan sells diesel fuel, gasoline to number of countries
Turkmenistan sells diesel fuel, gasoline to number of countries
Kazakhstan's exports to Portugal plummet amid COVID-19
Kazakhstan's exports to Portugal plummet amid COVID-19
Kazakhstan boosts trade turnover with Lithuania
Kazakhstan boosts trade turnover with Lithuania
Loading Bars
Latest
Mubarek oil&gas production dep’t owned by Uzbekneftegaz to increase natural gas production
Uzbekistan reveals its COVID-19 data for March 8
Development of Iran's Siyahmakan oil field launched
Iran unveils number of mining facilities put into operation
Japanese businessmen visit Azerbaijan’s Guba genocide memorial complex (PHOTO)
Nearly half of non-oil sector taxes in Azerbaijan falls on mobile operator in 2020
Azerbaijan's Azercell reveals number of processed requests in 2020
Azerbaijan's Jan. 2021 imports from EU show increase
Accumulative life insurance market in Azerbaijan grows
Iran capable of building long water transfer pipelines - Iranian VP
Deliveroo launches London IPO after business surges in 2020
Iran to publish final report of the downed Ukrainian jet soon
No direct or indirect relations between Iran and US - Iranian Foreign Ministry
Approval of FATF related bills would increase Iran's export revenue - Iranian Union
Iranian medicine importers awaiting approval of FATF related conventions
Turkey records slight decrease in car exports abroad
Cement exports from Turkey to global markets grow
Azerbaijan shows footage from Zangilan's Garagoz village (VIDEO)
Turkey's revenues from export of grains, legumes to global markets up
Moscow hosts opening ceremony of another 'Gifts of Azerbaijan' stand
Turkmenistan sells diesel fuel, gasoline to number of countries
Baku celebrating International Women's Day (PHOTO)
Kazakhstan's exports to Portugal plummet amid COVID-19
Kazakhstan boosts trade turnover with Lithuania
Oil supply to exceed demand in 2022, says JP Morgan
Georgia sees decrease in COVID-19 cases
Uzbekistan's gold deposit ranks in list of world's biggest gold mines by production
Azerbaijan's digital infrastructure project to generate Digital Silk Road between Europe, C.Asia
U.S. says all options on table for a decision on Afghanistan
Growth rate of agricultural production in Turkmenistan increases
Uzbekneftegaz reveals volume of oil products manufactured in 2M2021
Azerbaijan's First VP congratulates Azerbaijani women on International Women's Day
JP Morgan reveals 2021 oil demand & supply forecasts
Boom in Iran's housing sector create new jobs for local force
JP Morgan says OPEC to boost supply in 2021
OPEC crude output to exceed 30 mbpd in 2022 – JP Morgan
Uzbekistan, India talk mutual phytosanitary permits for agricultural products
Turkmenistan exceeds plan for transport, communication sector
Weekly review of Azerbaijani oil market
Nepal PM Oli receives first jab of Indian-made COVID-19 vaccine
Iran's economic development declines
IAM Construction LLC to reconstruct facility in Azerbaijan’s Seaside Park
Azerbaijan’s state interests on Azerbaijani-Armenian border protected at highest level
China's focus on annual GDP targets gives greater policy flexibility
Iran's CBI reveals amount of loans issued in Iran's trade sector
Buy/sell operations at Iran Mercantile Exchange on the rise
Iran kicks off development of Ramin oil field in Khuzestan Province
Iran reveals amount of loans issued in housing and construction sector
Iranian currency rates for March 8
Iranian banks issue big loans to agricultural sector
Iran boosts development of Zilayi oil field
Iran boosts exports via Zanjan Province
Iran's exports to Azerbaijan not on high enough level - Ali Jahangiri
State Oil Fund of Azerbaijan enters top five most transparent sovereign wealth funds
Large-amount loans issued in Iran's services sector
Excavations at Iran's South Pars gas field continue
Significant work done on water and electricity sectors in Iran – minister
Azerbaijan’s Buta Airways low-cost airline to resume flights from Baku to Ukraine’s Kyiv
Iran implements plan to maintain, increase extraction from several oil fields
Turkmenistan sees increase in trade turnover volumes
Japan government spokesman says timing of Biden-Suga meeting undecided
Exports to Iraq via Mehran crossing top $460m
Kazakhstan’s daily COVID-19 case count stands at 653
Weekly review of Azerbaijani ICT sector highlights
GE nears deal to combine aircraft-leasing unit with AerCap
Reopening schools a "national effort" to beat coronavirus - UK PM
Iran to construct new seaport making it largest in country
France ramps up weekend COVID-19 vaccinations after slow start
U.S. administers 90.35 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines
Swiss agree to outlaw facial coverings in 'burqa ban' vote
UK reports 82 new COVID-19 deaths
White House cites 'active threat,' urges action despite Microsoft patch
Iran's South Pars Gas Company declares gas production volumes
President Ilham Aliyev makes Facebook post on International Women's Day
4 terrorists killed in security forces operations in NW Pakistan
Turkey registers more than 11 180 new coronavirus cases
Iran’s CBI unveils amount of loans issued by banks
Azerbaijani Finance Ministry to auction off interest-bearing bonds
Iran to launch several facilities under city municipalities
Azerbaijan together with McKinsey improving railway sector
Turkmenistan's State Development Bank opens tender for IFRS 9 standard implementation
FIA updates schedule of Formula 1 weekends
Amount of loans issued in Iran's industrial and mining sectors announced
Israel's forex reserves hit record 185.09 bln USD
Review of main events of Azerbaijani financial market for first week of March
Turkey goes zero waste in agriculture
Iran's Energy Exchange announces products to be on sale on March 8
Iran’s Bahar Azadi gold coin price rebounds
Uzbekistan takes additional measures to support livestock industries
Iran’s CBI shares report on open market operations
Geostat reveals volume of meat production in Georgia
Reopening schools a "national effort" to beat coronavirus: UK PM
Jordan's PM reshuffles cabinet to accelerate reforms
Turkmenistan's oil refining volumes exceed plan
Kazakhstan increases imports from Hungary in 2020
Iran's interbank interest rate decrease
Weekly review of Azerbaijani currency market
Indonesia reports 5,826 new COVID-19 cases, 112 more deaths
7 killed, 3 missing in floods in northern Algeria
Iran reveals COVID-19 data for March 7
All news