Pakistan's Musharraf promises to support new government
Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf said Sunday he would support the incoming government a day after they named their nominee for prime minister. ( dpa )
The coalition government consists of Musharraf's political rivals - many of whom have called on him to resign - and they now control his fate.
The embattled president spoke Sunday of cooperation not confrontation. The new government "will have my full support," Musharraf said after viewing a parade to mark Pakistan's national day.
"A real democratic era has begun," he said, adding the foundation for that democracy was laid during his eight years in power. Musharraf came to power in a coup in 1999, but his popularity has nose-dived during the past year.
The party of slain former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto, the Pakistan People's Party (PPP), won the most seats in a February 18 election and secured the right to appoint the next prime minister. Former National Assembly speaker Yousaf Raza Gillani was named their candidate Saturday.
The PPP formed a collation with the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz of Nawaz Sharif, also a former premier, who finished second in the election while the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid, Musharraf's political backers, finished a distant third.
In the presence of a parliament full of his political rivals, Musharraf runs the risk of impeachment.
The coalition has already agreed to reinstate more than 60 senior judges Musharraf removed from office under the emergency order on November 3, within 30 days of the formation of government.
Musharraf sacked the judges to prevent the Supreme Court from disqualifying him for another presidential term and following the emergency proclamation he appointed hand-picked judges who approved of his re-election.
The deposed judges, when restored, can revoke the approval and force Musharraf, a key US ally, to leave office.
Musharraf has not indicated that he will step down voluntarily and in recent weeks has spoken of cooperation.
Meanwhile, Gillani has ruled out any conflict with the president, at least for the time being and said Sunday he would abide by the the constitution when asked if he will request Mustarraf to resign.