PPP parliamentarians for Zardari as president

August 21st, 2008 - 1:20 am ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, Aug 20 (IANS) Parliamentarians belonging to the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) have nominated party co-chair Asif Ali Zardari for next month’s presidential elections, a party leader told reporters Wednesday evening.”All participants at the meeting held in Islamabad have nominated Mr. Zardari for the country’s top office,” PPP MP Farzana Raja said.

She said that Zardari, while thanking the parliamentarians, said he would place their recommendation before the party’s central executive committee (CEC) at its meeting here Friday.

The presidency fell vacant Monday when Pervez Musharraf resigned from office after remaining in power for almost nine years.

“The parliamentarians’ decision is not binding and it would be discussed in the CEC,” Raja said, adding that the MPs had authorised Zardari to nominate anyone else if he is not ready to contest the presidential elections.

Zardari, who was also present at the meeting, said he would also discuss the issue with other members of the ruling coalition. The PPP leads the four-party coalition, which formed the government after the February general elections that voted out the Musharraf-backed Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid government.

A PPP leader, requesting anonymity, said if Zardari accepts the nomination, the powers Musharraf enjoyed as president will stay with the presidency. Presently, the president has the powers to dismiss the government and suspend parliament, appoint the chiefs of the armed forces, provincial governors and Supreme Court judges.

But the coalition had been saying that these powers will be withdrawn from the president and given back to the prime minister.

“Zardari will not accept the office if the coalition sticks to its demand of withdrawing these powers from the president,” the PPP leader said.

Zardari co-chairs the PPP along with his 20-year-old Oxford student son Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari after death of his wife, former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.

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