Source: Associated Press
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) — Elections will be delayed by one month following the turmoil sparked by Benazir Bhutto’s assassination, despite opposition threats of street protests unless the crucial vote is held Jan. 8 as originally planned, a top official said Tuesday.
A senior Election Commission official told The Associated Press that the commission has agreed on a new date. He indicated it would not be before the second week of February, but refused to disclose the exact schedule before the formal announcement on Wednesday.
Opposition parties accused Pakistan’s government of delaying parliamentary elections to avoid likely defeat and said Wednesday they feared the move could lead to more violence in a country still shaken by Bhutto’s assassination.
Many believe Bhutto’s party would get a sympathy boost if the vote takes place on time. Bhutto had accused elements in the ruling party of plotting to kill her, a charge it vehemently denies.
“We reject this delay outright,” said Sen. Babar Awan from Bhutto’s party, the most powerful opposition group. “(President Pervez) Musharraf fears outright defeat. If this election process is jeopardized, they (our followers) may protest again and there is a chance of riots.” read more
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