Bhutto Widower Moves Closer to Presidency

Pakistan's Zardari wins key opposition support to succeed Musharraf
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 20, 2008 7:40 AM CDT
Bhutto Widower Moves Closer to Presidency
Asif Ali Zardari and Bilawal Bhutto Zardari greet former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif upon Sharif's arrival for a meeting, Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2008 in Islamabad.   (AP Photo)

A major opposition party has backed Asif Ali Zardari, Benazir Bhutto's widower and the leader of the Pakistan People's Party, to succeed Pervez Musharraf as president, reports the AP. Zardari's support from the MQM, a party once loyal to Musharraf, will strengthen his hand in a struggle with coalition partner Nawaz Sharif over the presidency, as well as the issue of restoring the judges Musharraf purged.

The MQM is the second-largest opposition group in Parliament; it dominates Karachi, Pakistan's biggest city, and other urban areas. Once an arch-rival of the PPP, the party now says Zardari has the "wisdom and vision" to become president. Its support may be critical if Sharif goes ahead with a threat to quit the coalition unless the ousted judges are reinstated. (More Asif Ali Zardari stories.)

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