Tuesday, February 19, 2008

(Mu)Sharraf don't like it, Rock the Casbah!

Opposition parties together appear to have won a majority of seats in Pakistan's parliamentary elections. Musharraf's party is in third place, and many key figures in it lost their seats.

According to a (questionable) source (Joe Biden), Musharraf was accepting the defeat:

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, apparently handed a huge defeat in elections for his country’s national assembly, accepts the results and may be willing to assume a largely ceremonial role, Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., said Tuesday.

“ ”The results are clear, we lost. The outcome isn’t going to change,’ ” Biden quoted Musharraf as telling a delegation of three American senators that included Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., and Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass. “I’ve known him for a long time . . . He seemed like reality had set in.”

Biden told McClatchy that he believed that Musharraf, who assumed power in a military coup in 1999, would ask one of his opponents to form a new government. Whether he would then step into the background “will depend on how the coalition government is formed and how he is treated personally.”

Musharraf made no public statement about the elections, whose final results were not expected till Tuesday night or Wednesday. But unofficial tallies by Pakistani newspapers and television channels and partial official returns showed the party that has backed Musharraf, the Pakistan Muslim League-Q, heading for massive defeat.

If it stands, this is good news. Pakistan tops my list of scariest countries in the world and to see the election go through with secular opposition parties forming a government is a great outcome.