Global Politics

Elections next week in Pakistan

Musharraf has promised the elections will be peaceful, fair and transparent. This candidate with the leading party says she believes him. Others aren't so confident. They point to the fact that international pressure forced Musharraf to retire from the military and Musharraf's firing of Supreme Court Justice and the emergency rule that Musharraf imposed a couple of months ago. With elections days away, they see troubling signs. This official says while he's confident his party has popular support, he doesn't have confidence in how the election is being run. He says the election commission is filled with Musharraf appointees and the local government doesn't provide adequate security at polling sites and his party has filed 200 complaints of violations to the election commission which has dismissed them. Voting irregularities are nothing new, says this official. He says the question isn't whether vote rigging will happen but how blatant it will be and how much it will affect the results. Surveys by the BBC suggest the Pakistan People's Party and the party of Nawaz Sharif together could win more than two-thirds of the vote, which could give them enough power to change the national assembly constitution or to oust Musharraf from the presidency. The ruling party doesn't want that to happen, but corrupt officials may rig the vote just enough to deprive the two-thirds majority rather than give Musharraf the election outright. But this official isn't ruling anything out given what Musharraf has done to stay in power already. Much depends on turnout and that depends on whether people feel their vote will count. Many people even feel Pakistan could be a stable country if Musharraf resigned immediately.

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